Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Share: Kilisa Village Demonstrates Sand Dam Technology

The village of Kilisa in Kenya is building sand dams (also called sub-surface dams) in seasonal rivers to secure an adequate supply of water to support life, agriculture, and economic development.  With encouragement and support from the African Economic Foundation, an Africa Rising partner, the village has not only built their own dams, but also serves as a demonstration site for surrounding villages.  In a short time, four neighboring villages also built their own sand dams.  The Kilisa village sand dams are a powerful example of how Africa Rising partners share knowledge to expand the impact of their work.  The impact of sand dams on the environment and community are clear from the images below:
Dry river bed without a sand dam

River bed upstream of a sand dam with grasses growing due to groundwater storage
Here's how sand dams works: "Upstream of the dam sand accumulates, resulting in additional groundwater storage capacity of riverbed and –banks. This reservoir fills during the wet season, preventing quick runoff of valuable rainwater out of the catchment and out of the reach of the community. Water availability during dry seasons is prolonged and generally guaranteed. The quality of the water is protected against evaporation and contamination. Water quality is even improved through natural filtration in the soil." -From "An Introduction to Sand Storage Dams"
Kilisa residents showing Mary from Africa Rising a sub-surface dam

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