In pre-war Somalia (before 1990), large-scale irrigation schemes existed along the Juba and Shabelle basins. These controlled irrigation systems consisting of barrages, canals and other infrastructure, were constructed in the middle and lower reaches of both rivers. The canal system comprised primary and secondary canals, and numerous tertiary canals, with water flow controlled by barrages or weirs. Pumped irrigation systems also existed, especially along the Juba river where large pumps were used to take water from the river to other network of canals. Before the collapse of the government, the Somali Ministry of Agriculture estimated that 112,950ha was under controlled irrigation, while 110,000ha was under flood recession irrigation (cultivation along the edge of rivers or other water bodies using water from receding floods), giving a total irrigated area in the country of 222,950ha. Currently, the majority of this infrastructure is not functioning, and the area under irrigation has been significantly reduced.
Aerial photo of area around Qoryooley Barrage Qoryooley barrage before rehabilitation Qoryooley barrage after rehabilitation
In recent years, there have been several intervention activities going on in the irrigation sector in southern Somalia, mainly aiming to rehabilitate broken down barrages and clogged irrigation canals. To support these interventions, SWALIM has developed a well-structured tool, for collecting and managing past and present information on the irrigation infrastructure: the Irrigation Information Management System (IIMS), a stand-alone PC system which is available upon request. The IIMS provides information (both spatial and tabular) on ongoing and planned irrigation projects. It gives users of irrigation data a platform to discover what is available, querry the system for specific datasets and download data in different formats, such as .pdf documents, maps, spreadsheets, etc.