Somaliland: Groundwater Depletion Due To Excess Boreholes


Somalilandsun – Groundwater levels in Somalia are under jeopaincrease in wells could stop-groundwater depletionrdy as the drilling of unguided boreholes increases. This is according to a hydrological study that was performed by Somalia Water and Land Information Unit (SWALIM) of the Food and Agriculture Organization, covering Somaliland and Puntland.

The report is based on findings from a survey of 1,270 sites where over half the water sources are shallow wells, in Somaliland and Puntland. The survey showed that unregulated borehole drilling has led to groundwater sources becoming polluted – as well as over-exploited.

Luca Alinovi, Food and Agriculture Organization’s head in Somalia, said: “This report is the first of its kind in many years to help in sustainable use of water as a key natural resource and we hope, from now on we can build upon this knowledge to manage Somalia’s natural resources more sustainably.”

Much of Somalia has been affected by on-and-off conflict throughout the last 20 years, which has led to the destruction of key institutions and data – meaning that this recent report is the most up-to-date representation of the problem.

The problem of groundwater depletion has increased due to an absence of regulations and a lack of enforcement. The fact that there are no regulations coupled with there being no alternative water sources forces people to rely upon the groundwater. This is causing the depletion in the countries groundwater reserves.

Hussein Gadain, the Chief Technical Advisor of SWALIM, said: “By embarking on a rigorous one-year survey process, we aimed at stopping unregulated drilling of boreholes in Somalia which sees a high number of boreholes sunk every month without and basis.”

Gadain said that professional supervision should be given and feasibility assessments should take place for the expansion of humanitarian wells. It takes long periods of time for water to gather to such a level that it becomes viable for economic extraction. As Somalia is so reliant on the groundwater, its extraction needs to be closely monitored.

Groundwater is some areas of Somaliland and Puntland has been rendered substandard due to concentrations of chemicals, due – partially – to shallow wells being contaminated by run-off.

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