One of the characteristics of dryland areas is low and erratic rainfall often leading to droughts. Recurring droughts may then lead to land degradation further threatening agriculture and food security.
The lack of water in such areas may be a threat to peoples' livestock, health and own survival. In addition water scarcity often leads to conflicts between users such as rural versus urban inhabitants, or pastoralists and agriculturalists. As a result, DCG works on technologies, policies, and approaches to save and protect water resources in order to ensure sustainable agriculture and food security.
Techniques to counter water shortage which is common in dryland areas have been investigated, one of them being water harvesting. Water harvesting consists in collecting and storing any type of water for different use. A workshop was organized in Ethiopia for people to share their experiences of local/indigenous water harvesting projects with the aim of improving the quality of such projects.
A major reason for the occurence of droughts in dryland areas is the lack or poor development of irrigation schemes. However, irrigation projects may also negatively affect dryland areas. By irrigating land with saline water, the land progressively accumulates salt leading to its degradation. This effect can be accelarated through exagerated irrigation or irrigation that is ill-adapted to the local ecosystem. DCG led a study on an irrigation scheme in Eritrea which was causing excessive salinization of the soil. From this study, the report determined the extent of the damage, recommended improvement and reclamation measures, and finally created a checklist to prevent the degradation of similar areas by irrigation schemes.
(Sources: DCG Report 19, DCG Report 20