Photo credit: Christian Today
The Louda dam in Burkina Faso was designed to hold 4 million cubic metres of water.
Deserts are getting bigger, which means people are going hungrier
by Lucinda Borkett-Jones
We know that the climate is changing; we know that ice caps are melting, that rainfall patterns are changing, but we’re not always that good at connecting these facts with the effect on the land.
Northern Burkina Faso is in the Sahel region, a largely arid belt across the middle of Africa which borders the Sahara. Many areas of the Sahel suffer from desertification, with regular droughts and deterioration of the land from over-farming.
The dusty landscape above was the Louda dam – built in 1959, for years it was a model for dam-building and rice farming irrigation around the country. But in recent years the rains have been more erratic and so the water levels in the dam have been much lower.
The photo can’t convey the size of it. Where there are now only a few muddy puddles of water with children looking for fish with nets, in years gone by you could have waded into the water and collected a large amount of fish just with your shirt.
You wouldn’t expect it to be full in February (half way through the dry season) when this photo was taken, but it’s certainly not a good sign that it’s empty. This year at its height it only reached half its full capacity. In 2012 it was even lower, something that affected the whole region which was beset by a major food crisis that year.
The water collected in the dam used to provide people in the 206 surrounding villages (about 250,000 people) with water for drinking, washing, farming and construction. As a result of the drying of the dam, there has been a decline of more than two thirds of the agricultural production in the area.
Read the full article: Christian Today
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