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Brazil, Kenya : subsurface dams to augment groundwater storage in basement terrain for human subsistence : Brasil, Kenia : presas sub-superficiales para aumentar el almacenamiento de agua subterranea en terrenos con basamento para la subsistencia humana (Inglês)

The objective of these initiatives was to evaluate the technical strategy, social benefits and economic effectiveness of so-called subsurface dams to augment aquifer storage in semi-arid basement terrains with very limited natural groundwater and high drought propensity. This is considered a possible low-cost technology that could aid the rural poor in their battle for subsistence in such areas. This study focuses on experiences gained by Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE) in northeastern Brazil and by SASOL in Kitui-Kenya. This profile summarizes the field conditions and the principal findings, which are of broader geographical relevance. Subsurface dams of one type or another (especially groundwater and sand dams) can be found in various countries, especially in semi-arid regions. The technology used is not new - but its efficiency in conserving groundwater, suitability for a participatory approach and relative simplicity has recently revived interest in the technique. This study focuses on locations that represent the main national experience of this technology in: 1) northeastern Brazil in the agreste and sertao areas of the interior of Pernambuco State, where about 500 small subsurface dams were constructed during the 1990s; and 2) the Kitui District of Kenya, where the SASOL Foundation began constructing subsurface dams in 1995, and over 400 have been constructed and another 500 planned.




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