Water scarcity in Somalia: Addressing the urgent need for clean drinking water

Water scarcity in Somalia

Water scarcity in Somalia: Addressing the urgent need for clean drinking water

Water scarcity in Somalia has reached a distressing stage that calls for immediate action. Water is a resource of immense importance and is frequently considered to be the source of all life. However, in Somalia, it has become a valuable and limited resource. This East African country’s crippling water shortage has developed into a terrible humanitarian crisis that affects its most vulnerable citizens. The dire need for clean drinking water is not only a topic of environmental concern but also a crucial issue for human existence as we shift our attention to Somalia’s predicament.

Numerous Somalians were put at risk of starvation due to successive seasons of decreased rainfall, the drying up of important water sources, and dying livestock. In 2022, 6.1 million people were impacted by drought, and 759,000 were forced to leave their homes in search of pasture, water, and food. The majority of the crisis’s burden is still placed on women and girls.


Millions of people now struggle every day to find safe and dependable sources of drinking water amid Somalia’s vast and harsh environments. This essential requirement scarcity is a complex interplay of environmental variables and climatic variability. Let’s say Somalia is hit with the severe effects of climate change.


As much as 80 percent of the country’s water sources ran dry, including the Juba and Shabelle rivers, whose water levels are below historic minimums. As of 23 April 2022, there were around 159 strategically located communal boreholes that urgently needed to be upgraded in order to resume operation, affecting an estimated 4.2 million people.


The Somali inhabitants, with the exception of those who reside along the Juba and Shabelle Rivers, rely on groundwater for domestic water supplies, livestock, and small-scale agriculture. Spring-fed wells, shallow wells, and boreholes are Somalia’s primary groundwater sources.


The bulk of Somalia’s water sources are boreholes, which make them the most practical because they offer water when other sources run dry. Most boreholes in the nation are between 90 and 250 meters deep, however, in some places, they can reach depths of more than 400 meters, but getting clean drinking water is still a problem.


The cause of this is because, the majority of Somalia’s north and center have dry climates, while the majority of the rest of the north and south have semi-arid climates. Only a few localized regions in the south experience humidity. Less than 100 mm of precipitation falls each year in the north and northeast, 200 to 300 mm in the middle plateaus, and 500 to 600 mm in the northwest and southwest. This is one of the factors contributing to Somalia’s water shortage.


The small amount of seasonal climate variance is primarily attributed to changes in wind patterns. There is a larger monsoonal wet season in October and November and a primary monsoonal wet season in April and May, but this does not help the water scarcity in Somalia.


Addressing the urgent need for clean drinking water


It is impossible to exaggerate the value of clean water on a global scale. It is essential for maintaining one’s life, health, and sense of worth; it goes beyond simply feeding one’s thirst. However, the lack of clean drinking water in Somalia continues to be a persistent concern in both developing and industrialized areas, intertwined with intricate problems that span environmental, socioeconomic, and geopolitical dimensions.


Governments and humanitarian groups are involved in the effort to meet the acute need for clean drinking water in Somalia, but it is also a shared obligation that cuts across national boundaries. It demonstrates how dedicated the nation is to environmental protection, social fairness, and health equity.


In 2022, UNICEF improved and connected one water system in this section of the Danyile area to the IDP camp and installed numerous water points and latrines, enhancing the lives of the locals. UNICEF received funding from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (UNCERF). The initiative has been effective in addressing the immediate requirements of communities in Somalia that are struggling with water scarcity and inadequate sanitation.


UNICEF has been working nonstop to provide communities with access to clean water and fundamental sanitation services using money from UNCERF. In settlements spread throughout multiple Somalian regions, more than 180,000 individuals have benefited.


In order to meet their urgent needs, these communities were provided with a comprehensive package of WASH services, including shared sanitation facilities, sustainable water supply systems, emergency water supply, and hygiene supplies. Mercy-USA is also constructing wells for the Somali people to help battle the country’s lack of access to clean water. More than 750,000 people now have access to clean water thanks to the organization’s more than 700 wells.


More people in Somalia are finding themselves without access to clean water as extreme weather displaces communities and harms agriculture. With the aid of humanitarian groups like Mercy-USA and CARE International, the Somali government is attempting to increase aid and possibilities for those who are affected by poverty. For the Somali people’s position to improve and to guarantee that everyone in Somalia has access to clean water, ongoing humanitarian assistance is required.


However, there is more to Somalia’s water crisis than just need. Additionally, it is a story of tenacity, grit, and global cooperation. Governments, humanitarian groups, and committed individuals are working nonstop to provide clean water for Somalia’s citizens, lessen suffering, and create a more sustainable future.




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