Increased access to water poses a threat to nomadic livestock.

Socio-hydrological trends and community-based water and mobility conditions in the pastoral province of Namib. a, Trends in SWI (blue area), pasture (PAST, red line), cropland (CROP, black line), population (POP, dotted black line) and drought severity (SPEI, gray area) from 1992 to 2019. B, correlations between variables and significance (ranging from −1 to 1). C, D, arid conditions, from hyperarid to humid. E, Map of eight pastoral communities across the aridity gradient of Bibala Municipality and realized water and mobility needs as a result of FGDs. Credit: Natural climate change (2024). DOI: 10.1038/s41558-024-01929-z

Increasing access to water in the most arid parts of sub-Saharan Africa could help nomadic livestock farmers in the short term. However, in the long run, this can have serious consequences for their livelihood. This is revealed by new research from Uppsala University. published I Natural climate change.

“When you increase access to water in arid areas, often as an emergency measure, it becomes easier for livestock owners to stay there longer. However, this results in less water and pasture for their animals. Demand increases, reaching a level that is not there, and threatens to severely impact populations and reduce their resilience. And says Giuliano di Baldasare, Professor of Environmental Analysis at Uppsala University.

Millions of farmers in sub-Saharan Africa are affected by drought, which often leads to water crises, famine and displacement. Drought is particularly devastating in semi-arid regions, which typically experience high variability in rainfall, with short periods of rain followed by dry spells lasting for months. The communities in these areas are mostly nomadic cattle herders. Seasonal movement of herds is a traditional strategy used by nomadic livestock farmers around the world to cope with drought.

In recent times, initiatives to improve water infrastructure in arid regions have become common. One of the strategies is to create and holes for drainage. This is often an emergency measure to save the lives of animals during droughts.

In a new study led by Uppsala University, researchers have investigated how new water sources affect nomadic communities. He has used qualitative methods of anthropological research in large arid regions in various African countries, and Data analysis and social hydrological modeling in Angola eg.

In their research, the researchers compared how overall drought conditions look by drought extent, water access, soil conditions and population size. They have examined the statistics for the years 1954-2018 on the number of boreholes, shallow and deep wells constructed, when and for what purpose they were constructed.

Majority The creation had multiple functions and was intended both for domestic use and for livestock and irrigation. During 2021, researchers followed eight nomadic communities in Angola and conducted in-depth interviews with 24 focus groups.

The study shows that when access to water improves, thanks to new wells and boreholes, the need for water increases. Both human population and livestock need more water, and animals need more pasture.

“It is not possible to guarantee access to water and there is a risk of even more problems. Farmers if more permanently settled in one place. Our study shows that such measures aimed only at increasing water supply, without effective management, threaten the resilience of nomadic communities to drought and climate change, and this is happening at a time when While droughts are expected to increase in many regions in the coming decades. De Baldassare says.

More information:
Luigi Piemontese et al., Overreliance on water infrastructure may constrain climate resilience in pastoral arid regions, Natural climate change (2024). DOI: 10.1038/s41558-024-01929-z

Provided by
Uppsala University

Reference: Increased access to water may pose long-term threat to nomadic livestock farmers (2024, February 16) Accessed February 17, 2024 at https://phys.org/news/2024-02-access-threat-nomadic-livestock – Retrieved from farmers.html

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