Assessment of Irrigation Water Supply Losses in Major Irrigation Canals in Bal’ad District of Middle Shabelle Region in Somalia
Omar, Abdirashid A
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The main objective of this study is to determine the main causes of irrigation water supply losses in canals in Somalia. The impact of the study is to help Somali authorities and communities identify the areas where they need to concentrate on, to improve the irrigation water application and operation management. The study outlines and defines more types of irrigation systems in common and then looks at the irrigation systems used in Somalia. . During the study, I reviewed the literature from the field using field records and scheduled interviews, GPS coordinates, and from ancillary information such as remote sensing images and existing national maps. A comparison was done using secondary sources such as academic journals and information from authorities on irrigation and water loss. The study was carried out in Bal’ad District. The district boasts a population of approximately 642,000 across 82 villages and it is known for good performance in agriculture, livestock and marine resources in Somalia. The study targeted irrigation-based farmers and NGO employees in Bal’ad. The response rate for farmers was 80% while that of NGO employees was 75.76%. The study found out that the main ways through which irrigation water is lost include evaporation, seepage through the canal bunds, overtopping of the bunds, overflow losses, and overwatering. In terms of preventing the loss of irrigation water, the respondents mainly suggested daily supervision, proper maintenance, water allocation to farmers, good management, lining of canals, management of irrigation methods, ongoing evaluation, good land preparation, and training farmers. . The results also showed that the average field application efficiency was 25 percent while the conveyance efficiency was 30 percent. This translated to a scheme irrigation efficiency of 7.5 percent which is poor for surface irrigation prevalent in the study area. The typical irrigation efficiency of unlined canal systems in loom-clay soil is 65% at field application. Furthermore, the study also found out that most farmers from the study area have been using irrigation for over 150 years. More than half of the farmers own over 10 acres of farming land; implying, that irrigation farming is done on a large scale in the district. Most farmers have their farming lands over 1000 meters away from the irrigation source; hence, more water is lost because of the long distance. The loss is mainly through seepage and runoffs, evaporation, runoffs and percolation.
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