Residents in and around Mayuge district have noticed especially dramatic changes in climate in recent years, including long periods of drought and excessive heat, punctuated by extreme rainfall and accompanying soil erosion. Additionally, the timing of the seasons have become much less predictable. These changes have had devastating effects in a society where nearly 90% of people make a living primarily through rain-fed agriculture.
To combat these changes, WWF partnered with a former Peace Corps volunteer, Sam Strimling, to support a community-wide effort to construct a much-needed irrigation system to support local farms. This project provided local farmers with the materials and training needed to build storage tanks sufficient for irrigating two acres of farmland.
- Wood poles
- Wire mesh nets
- Iron bars
- Softwood planks
- Binding wire
- A pipe used to capture run-off from the existing borehole (also filtering into the large harvesting tank),
- A gas-powered water pump
- 150-meter hose to distribute water to the crops.
Construction began at the end of the dry season to ensure the system could begin collecting rainwater soon after completion. Approximately 60 members from the community came out each day over the course of one week to assist with the procurement of materials, cement mixing and transporting of bricks. Additional labor was contracted to complete more technical work including bricklaying and plaster application. Watch video.
- With any water collection project, ensure storage tank is covered to prevent mosquitos from using it as a breeding site
- Do not use the harvested water for drinking unless properly treated
- 1 large (12ft x 12ft x 13ft) water storage tank
- 1 smaller (4ft x 3ft x 2ft) attached tank to be used for purposes of capturing run-off and filtering out sediment before flowing into the larger tank
- Pump and hose system to transport water from tanks to crops
The number of individuals who received training and participated in project completion:
- Males, 15 and older: 117
- Females, 15 and older: 32
Impact on farming
To date, farmers have expressed their satisfaction with the system, which they’ve already put to use. Currently they are using irrigation made possible by the project to grow pumpkins and passion fruit during the dry season, something that was only possible during the wet season in years past. Growing these crops at this time of year also means they can fetch a higher price at market, thereby boosting household income.
Since completing this Climate Crowd project, Sam has gone on to start her own non-profit to replicate this project model at other sites in Uganda.