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The IGAD region, facing the critical issues of water scarcity and climate change, is advancing water security through the collaborative efforts of its member states. The Water Unit under the Agriculture and Environment Division spearheads this initiative, focusing on sustainable groundwater management and regional cooperation to build resilience and trust across communities. IGAD’s commitment to water security has been evident over the years through a series of strategic initiatives. Since 2007, Water Unit has undertaken projects ranging from the mapping of transboundary water resources to fostering river basin dialogues and governance. Notable milestones include the signing of an MOU between Kenya and Uganda for joint river basin management and the launch of targeted groundwater initiatives.

The Groundwater for Resilience (HoA GW4R) Program stands as the latest testament to IGAD’s ongoing commitment, reflecting a nuanced understanding of the region’s needs and a vision for comprehensive water resource management.

Groundwater for Resilience Program

The Horn of Africa Groundwater for Resilience (HoA GW4R) Program, now in its first phase, is actively engaged in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. It aims to enhance sustainable groundwater use and establish a foundation for climate resilience, with plans to extend to more IGAD member states in future phases.

IGAD Platform for Groundwater Collaboration (I-PGWC)

The IGAD-Platform for Groundwater Collaboration (I-PGWC) facilitates regional cooperation, promoting a unified approach to address water challenges. This platform enables member states to share knowledge, harmonize policies, and strengthen collaboration in groundwater management, ensuring a comprehensive strategy across the IGAD region.

IGAD’s proactive approach includes the development of key agreements and systems for effective water management. Notably, the preparation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the joint management of the Merti Aquifer between Kenya and Somalia exemplifies the region’s effort to foster cooperative water resource governance. Additionally, the establishment of a regional Groundwater Information System and data-sharing protocols are crucial steps toward integrated water management across the IGAD region.

Strategic Feasibility Studies for Transboundary Aquifers

To deepen understanding and management of vital water resources, IGAD has initiated feasibility studies for three transboundary aquifers: Dawa, Shabelle, and Northern basement aquifer. These studies aim to assess aquifer systems, identify sustainable management practices, and enhance cooperation between sharing countries. The Dawa Aquifer study, for example, encompasses a comprehensive assessment of groundwater development and management, exploring potential projects to improve drought resilience and socio-economic development across Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia.

Comprehensive Water Security Strategy

Beyond immediate groundwater management, IGAD’s strategy includes developing alternative water sources and climate-resilient infrastructure. This holistic approach ensures a sustainable water supply and integrates climate adaptation measures across the region.

Perspectives on Regional Integration

The Director of Agriculture and Environment stressed out that “Water is the lifeblood of our communities and economies. Our efforts in transboundary water management depict IGAD’s dedication to regional integration, ensuring that every drop counts towards the collective growth and well-being of our member states.”

Reflections on Water Stewardship

Echoing this sentiment, the Program Manager of the Water Unit adds, “As we mark World Water Day, it’s pivotal to reflect on our shared waters as not just a resource but as a shared heritage that calls for collective stewardship and wisdom. Our programs are more than initiatives; they are a dialogue of cooperation and a vision for a water-secure future.”



As IGAD celebrates World Water Day, it stands as a testament to regional unity, showcasing a holistic approach to water resource management that resonates with the global call for sustainability and resilience. IGAD’s efforts in the Water Unit underscore a robust commitment to mitigating water scarcity and enhancing resilience. The HoA GW4R Program and its strategic feasibility studies of transboundary aquifers, alongside the I-PGWC, exemplify regional cooperation in water resource management.

Written by:

Dr. Ibrahim Mohamed Ahmed

Programme Manager – IGAD Water Unit



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