2030 SDGs

Reducing the impact of flash floods in Somalia: study

Photo:  Flooding in Beletweyne 2016 © AMISOM/Flckr

For decades Somalia has been beset by illegal logging, deforestation and land degradation. These problems, worsened by overgrazing, conflict and climate change, have made many areas prone to devastating flash floods, caused by heavy rainfall that leads to a sudden increase in river flow followed by a quick recession.

This tends to happen during the Gu rainy season between March and June and the Deyr season from October to December. At the same time, Somalia also suffers frequent periods of water scarcity or drought.

Ahead of flash flood season in Somalia, UNEP-DHI has released a study to help the country better adapt to flooding by tapping into nature.

The modelling study reveals the vulnerability of communities to short-lived, seasonal flooding in Beledweyne, Jalalaqsi, Bulo Burde, Mahaday Weyne, Jowhar in Hirshabelle State, and Qardho in Puntland. Experts say that storing water and managing water extremes is key to development and food security across the country.

V-shaped weir        V-shaped/notched weirs are used in many parts of the world to control flooding and measure flow rates. Photo: Aaron Volkening

The study finds that triangular, V-shaped or V-notch weirs (a concrete structure built through an open waterway) – along with with planting shrubs, grasses or trees – can reduce the impact of flash floods.

While dams impound water behind a wall; weirs change the flow characteristics of a river. Built into the riverbank, they help recharge groundwater, revitalize ecosystems, and can store water for later use when water is scarce.

Read more of this UNEP story here.

For more information, please contact Gareth Lloyd: Gareth.lloyd@un.org or Lis Mullin Bernhardt: lis.bernhardt@un.org

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UNEP-DHI Centre on Water and Environment

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Tel: +45 45169200