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African Water Facility: Rural populations to enjoy increased access to water with the completion of the Saday dam in Djibouti


The African Water Facility (AWF) participated in a handover ceremony on June 18 to mark the completion of the Saday dam in Djibouti. The AWF’s involvement is part of a project to support the mobilization of water for domestic and agricultural use in rural areas. 
The dam retains a settling reservoir and also keeps a great quantity of surface water for recharge. This is a new experience for Djibouti and a pilot that promises important socio-economic returns.  
In 2008, the Government of Djibouti received a €1.9-million grant from the African Water Facility to test innovative runoff water collection techniques and to finance a portion of the costs to cover for the construction of the dam. The Saday dam will help provide sustainable water services to the populations of Obock, who will be able to enjoy increased access to potable water, as well as water for irrigation and livestock.

The dam has a 600-metre-long concrete edge with gabion baskets made of local materials. On the left bank, it is equipped with two cofferdams to channel torrential floodwaters for the irrigation of an area dedicated to forage production, estimated at 250 hectares. The construction of the dam was made possible through the feasibility and tender design studies financed by the AWF, which also co-financed the construction works alongside the Saudi Fund for Development and the Government of Djibouti.

Over the long term, the project will bring the following results:

  • greater water availability in the pilot areas of Digri (Ali Sabieh region) and Saday (Obock region);
  • access to deeper hydrogeological information throughout the entire project area;
  • better staff management capacity;
  • reduction of waterborne diseases in the two project areas;
  • optimization of results during drillings;
  • the creation of a consortium of viable projects and able to attract new investments

It is hoped that this experience in the area of mobilization of surface water will be replicated nationwide to help other rural communities better manage extreme water stress, increase water security and their resilience to climate change.


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