Water and Land Information Management

FAO’s unit on water and land serves Somali administrations, non-governmental organizations, development agencies and UN agencies engaged in assisting Somali communities whose lives depend directly on those resources.

Over two decades of civil strife in Somalia have resulted in the loss or damage of most of the water- and land-related information collected in the previous half century.

By producing baseline information, assessing natural resources, searching for existing information sources around the world, SWALIM is recovering as much of lost data as possible.

The project is also re-establishing data collection networks in collaboration with partner agencies, to facilitate better assessment of rainfall, river flow, groundwater resources, land characteristics, degradation and land suitability as well as improving flood warning and flood management.

Water as a crucial resource

 SWALIM's primary role in the Water Sector is to provide an information management resource to agencies active in the water sector in Somalia. The project focuses on areas of water sources (rural and urban), irrigation, river gauging network, rainfall observation network and flood early warning.
SWALIM will aggregate and collate data collected routinely by organizations based in the country and assemble the data into datasets and information products with national coverage. SWALIM will also undertake specific field work to develop new data and to close identified information gaps.
Partners can expect the following from SWALIM:

  • Data collection tools and data management software
  • Training and capacity-building in data collection and information management
  • Access to highly developed, relevant information products and archives in a variety of formats through the Client Service Platform
  • Information in SWALIM's archives will be managed in such a way that the original source will always be credited.

On the other hand, partners are expected to:

  • Use data collection methodologies and information management tools developed by SWALIM;
  • Regularly update SWALIM with data.

Land Information

SWALIM’s  Land Team is working at the national level but also with focus in three areas of interest: Dur Dur and Gebiley areas in Somaliland, Juba and Shabelle riverine areas and North and South Garowe in Puntland. In these three areas, the main objectives of the SWALIM Land Team are:

  • to inventory the spatially distribution of the land resources base (landform, land cover/vegetation, soils, land use, etc) for the three different areas of study;
  • to perform a land suitability assessment for the northern and southern area of interest;
  • to apply remote sensing techniques for the assessment of pastoral resources in the North and South Garowe;
  • to assess the land degradation extent and status by applying the LADA/WOCAT framework at local level; and
  • to organize a regional expert workshop on the potentialities and limitations in the use of remote sensing tools for detection and monitoring of environmental changes in the Horn of Africa. At national level, the land theme has focus on land resources assessment of Somalia.

To achieve the aforementioned objectives, SWALIM uses a combination of different tools such as Remote Sensing, Geographic Information Systems, GPS, fieldwork, and local knowledge. In line with the SWALIM policy of producing reliable products that represents at the highest extent the reality, the Land team augmented its activities with field surveys and local knowledge to ground-truth its products.

The main products from the Land Team are spatial databases and maps that are freely available online. However these digital products can be found in a user friendly way in the Land Report Series which contain the individual reports of each activity.

Read the latest SWALIM newsletter  here.