|Press Release No:2011/554/MNA|
|Washington, June 14, 2011 – A rural community development and water project approved today by the World Bank focuses on increasing access to water for rural communities in Djibouti, and enhancing their capacity to manage agro-pastoral resources. The US$5.83 million IDA grant will primarily be used to finance projects to help farmers and pastoralists in the small Horn of Africa country cope during a period that citizens call “the thirst problem”—the three to four harshest months of the dry season.“The project is designed to enhance the resilience of rural households to water scarcity during the dry season through investments in water harvesting and groundwater supply, and to strengthen the organizational, technical, and management capacity of communities in areas most affected,” said Garry Charlier, Senior Rural Development Specialist at the World Bank, “Djibouti is extremely water-scarce and this condition is expected to be exacerbated by population growth and the impact of climate change.”
Djibouti only averages 150 mm of rainfall a year and has no permanent rivers, streams or fresh water lakes. In addition, due to its year- round hot and dry climate, less than five percent of total rainfall reaches the water table because of evaporation and flash floods. The project aims to ensure access to crucial surface and ground water resources for the local communities as well as for small-scale community agricultural and livestock production. In addition, by preparing and implementing participatory development plans, rural communities in project areas will be able to identify investment projects based on their actual needs, to be implemented at their pace. The project will also help to strengthen government capacity at the regional and central levels.
In 2007, the Government of Djibouti launched a Program for Mobilization of Surface Water and Sustainable Land Management to address the ‘thirst problem’. The project approved today complements and expands these earlier efforts and includes plans for areas not yet reached under previous programs. It will cover two new geographic regions including the arid areas of Khor Angar-Obock in the northern region of Obock and Cheiketi-Hanlé in the southern region of Dikhil. Okar, what use to be Unity-Town