Groundwater Management in Wadi Dhella: Yemen
Yemen is a country that is usually associated with problems of large stretches of barren uncultivable land that cannot be used for its developmental purposes. However, little is known about the highly effective water management system that has been taken up by local community people there to help assuage the critical water shortage issues.
With the increasing population and cultivation of water intensive crops, there was aggressive digging of shallow wells. Also, the traditional underground water irrigation systems such as Qannats are completely exhausted and cannot be used any further.
Qanat System of Agriculture
Under these circumstances, it becomes imperative that immediate steps are taken to preserve the declining levels of groundwater.
Recent research and development in the area detailed quite a few methods to overcome this severe shortage which needed involvement of a lot of people in the area. Surprisingly, the actual number of people who got together actually crossed the expected number and the project was a huge success.
After the failure of Qannats, people starting digging individual tube wells and once water was used up in the dug up space, the moved on to another spot. This was realized and the government after got together with the farmers and set up common tube wells. The farmers owned shares in those wells and decided on the families using them as well as the usage pattern. They ensure that water is not sold to other villages but can be shared amongst people in the same village thereby leading to the increase in social capital. Also, social fencing was observed by not allowing anyone to dig new wells.
Common tube wells Farmers(shareholders in these tube wells)
Spacing between wells was at least 600-800 meters to prevent over exploitation of groundwater. To help the farmers whose fields were at a significant distance from the wells, the farmers...