This could be the simplest way Somaliland/Somalia can solve the water problems.
It is quite exhausting, the rain is still yet to come. It usually rains at the end of March and the beginning of April around Somali regions, but this year things are getting complicated, the weather is quite intricate.
Droughts in Somalia/Somaliland is something I have been witnessing for the past 10 years. I don’t know, nothing changes; people are waiting for droughts and suffering every year, particularly during winter time.
I am civil engineer graduate and this pisses me off.
Another thing that pisses me off is seeing large multi-millionaires as well billionaire Somali/Somaliland companies bragging and talking about their aid to the needy people, their number of water trucks they sent it to the rural area to save lives.
One says they help almost 700 water trucks to a specific area that experienced very severe dry drought. like seriously 700 water truck for one day!?
Like how much do those costs?
Let us do simple math.
Let us say 1 water truck = 8 water tanks
1 water tank costs 8 dollars
So, let us multiply 8 dollars by 8 water tanks to find out how much a water truck costs.
8 water tanks x 8 dollar = 64 dollar per water truck
64 x 700 = $ 44,800
Here I just calculated one company’s aid, despite the others who also have donated more than 700 hundred water trucks.
The government has been donating much more water trucks worth six to seven figures in cost; the amount of donations in February could exceed millions of dollars.
Why is it pissing me off? Shouldn’t this be supposed to make me happy? My fellow citizens are being fed. They are receiving aid, what is wrong with you? You may say.
In 2017–2019 there has been series of drought seasons occurring around Somalia and Somaliland. It has caused damage to humans, livestock, and crops as well. It was a disaster.
I remember once that there has been huge displacement for rural communities, particularly nomadic pastoralists.
The number of affected people was unbearable. Everyday rural families were losing their only source of food and income (livestock).
There have been huge campaigns, fundraising and emergency aid that were aimed at helping those people so they can have something they can cope with the droughts.
My people are bad at learning from experience!
Like here in 2022, we are still suffering the same way we were suffering with drought for the past ten years. If there will be no proper plan and actions for the upcoming years to take advantage of rainy seasons, then we are all doomed.
Some people claim that there is a shortage of rain in Somali regions, are you kidding me? how come there is shortage of water when we witness 98% of rain water runs off on the ground, then goes to the sea, is there shortage of rain or lack of water resource management?
You might say for us to manage water resources effectively, we might be in need of huge capital resources because the Somali region communities are poor!
How can we be poor when we are providing millions of dollars of aid regarding drought times?
I have never heard of any aid for water catchments, dams, tanks, and reservoirs when it is raining around Somali region. In fact, the funny thing is people suffer from floods too. Like how come we suffer both droughts and floods?
Let me get back to the money issues. I don’t think there is a money problem either. Although country is economically struggling yet the country enjoys manageable population.
The Ministry of Planning and National Development- Somaliland has estimated the population of Somaliland is about 5.7 million people. Where 67% of these people live in rural areas. in estimation it 4.2 million people living in rural area. Let us say that 50% of people live in areas where there is a severe water shortage, so that is only 2.1 million who suffer from water problems.
Isn’t this unacceptable while the country runs with billion dollar yearly budget, a lot of companies who are multi-millionaires, billionaires willing to provide aids, while international aid is also coming to the country every month that yet our people suffer and still lose their livestock every year.
I mean like, water is essential it should be prioritized above anything.
How is it so hard to solve these water issues for only 2.1 million people just for the dry seasons? Which mostly goes for only 3–4 months when you simply can afford bringing water trucks from miles away and spending millions of dollars for water that will eventually be consumed in view days. Like make it make sense!
If the government, society, scholars and businesses are thinking enough for the possibility of finding a sustainable solution to this keep-coming disasters of water problems, they would have had a better way to keep people, animal and crop, away from suffering due to the water problems.
I am not a scholar, neither writer. but from my point of view I had an urge to simply devote my ideas through this writing, and here is how I think will be an easier way to solve practically the issues of water shortage:-
Having a concise plan for the rainy season.
Rain will eventually come back insha Allah, it will rain soon, even if it will be only one month or couple of weeks. But is there any strategic plan for conserving rainfall, the surface water runoff as well underground water discharges? Do we have any conscious about that?
In the past year 2021 for the west north regions it was a great rainy season.
I remember while working with rural people and around the rural areas, it was consistently raining most of the days, in where, we got stuck between the roads due to the heavy rains.
I vividly remember a striking statement that my boss emphasized during our work on these areas while it was raining.
He said look at all of this water running off on the ground, mark my word, all this water and our people will soon suffer droughts.
I can not believe how accurate his statement becomes.
To have a strong sense of urgency for obtaining the best way to take advantage of the rainy season will have a huge impact on how society will behave and cope with future droughts.
The goal of these plans is not to end suffering but to minimize the negativity of the disaster. To have plans, savings and infrastructures like reservoirs, dams or wells to conserve the waters.
There is nothing more important for society than food and water, so governments and everyone should prioritize water over every other need, particularly over any other buildings, expansions, and so on.
SWALIM indicates that the shortage of water will increase during April till mid of 2022. It is also showing in research that 80% of Somali regions are experiencing extreme drought conditions.
With this all researched, everyone should be aware of the possibility of worse yet to come. So it is always important to come up with a plan, that is executable and will have a huge impact.
Establishment of a various water associations is needed.
Most Somaliland society seems like drifting and following around the flow of any current situations and paying zero attention to the needs that really matter to society. People are focusing on talking about politics when most politicians talk about non-sense, backbiting, accusing each other and blaming one another.
Our country can not and must not focus on blaming and criticisms.
We can not afford to waste our energy, time, resources and money on non-sense-like tribalism, shaming and all of the negativity that will only dismantle our society.
With this scholars and youth pour their focus and energy down into the negativity rather than finding solutions for their people.
In the contrary, scholars, government agencies should assemble and establish a water-based associations that unites all water stakeholders, including scholars, university lecturers, donors, governmental agencies as well communities who will devote their time, energy and resource for finding a last longing solution to the water crisis.
These associations will focus on weather forecasting, educating society about the importance of water, doing research, and advising the stakeholders for the betterment of managing water resources.
Associations will also help the government plan, execute and track water projects and how society can take advantage of the rainy seasons.
Fundraising, and allocating budgets for water resource management.
People raise funds around the world when there is a water shortage, why not when there is a well that needs to be drilled, dam that needs to be built or reservoirs that need to be constructed.
There should be account dedicated specific for water development projects, dams, and reservoirs.
They spent millions of dollars on water trucks that will only be used for a couple of days. Why not invest in infrastructure that can be used repeatedly every year.
Companies are willing to provide aid and help to rural people. Why not invest in the sustainable water projects. why not construct 5 reservoirs instead of providing thousands of water trucks. Are they showing off?
Government and stakeholders should emphasize and push these companies who are willing to provide water trucks, to invest in sustainability, longativity and actual meaningful water projects.
In conclusion, I believe it is easy for these countries to solve the water crisis if they really want to. If they are willing to invest time, resources and energy on what is important, rather than trying to focus on so many things at one time and simply suffering in the end.
Countries like Somalia and Somaliland have more corruption and struggle for poor country administrations. Many of the politicians are going into politics not to create change but to gain power, money and status.
Here, great leadership is really needed, but, I believe lack of leadership in the country’s politics will make no difference if other societies are not being influenced by their poor management.
Everyone of us has the responsibility to talk about this, discuss and demand attention on what we think really matter to the community, we can not watch when our people are suffering, we can not afford just watching money getting wasted on what doesn’t really matter, we don’t need events, celebrations and occasions when we are doomed every year to suffer a water shortage.
In my university years when I was taking water courses, my teacher told us this.
“ Guys, we complain about the water shortage but in statistically the whole country can live one year with the water intensity we had yesterday rain”
I believe there is no shortage of water, but a shortage of planning, management and attention towards water!
Thanks for reading!!