Somalia is currently facing the worst water scarcity in many decades as a result of successive droughts. The amount of freshwater per person has been decreasing over time, going from 2,087 cubic meters in 1962 to 411 cubic meters in 2017 according to a World Bank report 2020. This is well below the ideal level of 1000 cubic meters per person set by the UN. Some 70% of the rural population has limited access to safe drinking water, according to the Save the Children report from February 2021.

The persistent reduction of fresh water and repeated droughts, mainly attributed to the climate crisis, have resulted in fierce competition for water resources that cause fighting in rural communities in Somalia. While many factors related to climate change contribute to water conflicts, a lack of community-based governance structures over water management and access has remained at the heart of every conflict.

With a one-year fellowship from the Bertha Foundation in 2022, Abdikhayr Mohamed Hussein, a senior member of Bareedo Platform and Bertha Challenge Fellow 2022, worked with Somali rural communities, particularly clan elders and Somalia water stakeholders, throughout 2022 and developed a guideline manual for the management of rural water resources and the reduction of conflict over water resources among communities in the rural areas of Somalia.

The manual, which is the first of its kind is meant to help Somalia’s traditional elders and rural community leaders set up their own community-based water management structures to help them manage and share water resources equally and find solutions to water-related conflicts.

The manual, which is available in Somali and English, is now available to the public and can be downloaded from the below link.