Using technology to find water in drought-stricken Somalia

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Mogadishu | DFS

Most of us don’t think twice about where our next glass of water will come from. But in the remote parts of the world where peacekeeping operations are established, if water is scarce or untapped underground it is an entirely different scenario for the military and civilians deployed to these locations.

The Client Solutions Delivery Section (CSDS) Groundwater Exploration team in the Field Technology Service (FTS) of the UN Global Service Centre (GSC) combines their expertise with geospatial technology and geophysics to find water in the most unlikely places: the deserts of the Western Sahara (United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara) and Mali (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali). Some of these water strikes are ample enough to serve both the mission Force and civilian personnel deployed to these sites, as well as to share with the local population.

The team’s most recent water discovery has been in the semi-arid, war-torn and high-security-risk East African nation of Somalia for UN Missions in Somalia and African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) sites. Thirty mission locations in the six sectors where AMISOM troops are deployed were targeted for groundwater exploration. Their efforts were further complicated by the potential existence of Improvised Explosive Devices, and the team had to engage the services of the United Nations Mine Action Service to sweep and clear the areas ahead of the geophysical surveyors.  

“This work has a huge effect on the Organization’s capacity to implement its mandates in the most difficult of environments", said Anthony O’Mullane, Director, ICTD. "Using advanced technology transforms the complex and ad hoc process of finding water in arid lands into a science. It minimizes the impact on the local environment and contributes to the well-being of nearby communities". 

"The GSC Groundwater Exploration team found a sustainable water supply at the first targeted drilling spot in Baidoa. We expect that, once the concept has been proved, this service will become an integrated part of mission support activities. Identifying requirements and providing and mainstreaming innovative solutions in support of mandate implementation is going to be a key function of the Field Technology Sections in the future. The GSC team are pioneers in this regard and can be very proud that their work can have such an impact”, he added.

Read the full article on the DFS Field Technology website: (use your Unite ID credentials to log in).