Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions for Development

Somali Natural Resources Research Center

SONRREC helps address the current and future water challenges of the country to achieve sustainable water resources management for development and ensure affordable, accessible, safe, and clean water for all


Somalia is one of the water scarcity countries in the world and its water resources are limited to surface water mainly Juba and Shabelle river basins which are transboundary basins shared by Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya and groundwater resources which is limited and unknown resources for its yield, capacity, and potentiality with various depth in aquifers. In Somalia, Water is an important natural resource, and it is the backbone of economic growth and prosperity of the nation. It is at the center of economic and social development and vital to maintain health, grow food, manage the environment, and create jobs.

Somalia is experiencing severe and recurrent Flood and drought disasters that have a significant negative and devastating impact on millions of Somalis' livelihood each year and cause the death of humans and animals, damaging properties, environment, infrastructure, and the economic sector.

Somalia faces many types of disasters, both man-made and natural, with the latter including floods, droughts, and disease outbreaks. Climate shocks, turning into floods and drought, are becoming increasingly frequent as climate change advances. Available hydrometric records on the Juba and Shabelle rivers show that floods have occurred at least eight times since records commenced in 1961. In the last 20 years, floods have occurred every four years, and in the previous decade, floods have become even more frequent, i.e., every year or every second year. Equally, droughts are turning more common. The drying up of Shabelle River in 2016-17 shocked many people and was an eye-opener for what climate variability may do with socioeconomic conditions. Floods and droughts also affect large areas outside the two basin areas.

Historically, floods occurred in Somalia in numerous times and as a recent as of 2021. It is projected to be more seasonal in the future. In the past, hydrometric records available on the Juba and Shabelle Rivers in Somalia show that floods occurred on the rivers in at least eight years since records commenced in 1961, but for the last 20 years, flooding has been recurring every four years while in the last decade, flooding became more frequent in every one or two years which had a significant impact on social and economic, development of the country due to flood damages to the most productive sectors.

SONRREC Approach

SONRREC developed its five years Strategic Plan and part of it focusing on addressing Somali water challenges which is aligned with the National Development Plan and newly launched National Water Resources Management Strategy of the Federal government of Somalia to address the current and future water challenges of the country to achieve sustainable water resources management and ensure that everyone has a right to have an affordable, accessible, safe and clean water which is part of the human right.

SONRREC prioritized key critical areas need to be studied in Somali water sector including but not limited to institutional governance system of water sector in Somalia, Implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management in Somali context, Conjunctive use of Surface and Groundwater Resources, Transboundary Challenges of Shabelle and Juba Basins, Upstream developments to Downstream, Climate Smart Water Resources in Somalia, and Water for Economic growth and Development.