Oxen drinking from a revitalized stream
One of the impacts of environmental degradation in the village of Atebes, as in many Ethiopian highlands have been extreme soil erosion and consequently, the drying up of streams. When soil is washed down stream, the bare rocks do not absorb the water during the rainy season. The life span of the streams became short months following the end of the rainy season. Women and children spent several hours a day trekkingto collect water.
One of the interventions we tried in 2012 was trying to stop the rushing floods during the rainy season by building check dams using gabion walls on the upper slope of the dried stream. During the the summer rains of 2012 the largest gabion stracture was filled with sand. We have photos of before and after the check dam strucutre and the stream to show the differnece.
As the picture of April 2012 shows, a little girl is trying to fill her water container (plastic Jerican) with a tiny can. It took her almost an hour to fill it with water. We took a picutre on a similar site in February this year. The stream did not only improve but the two oxen's body is half inside the water. We are told that not only are the farmers fetching water from her but , even farmers from down stream are coming her to fetch water. The farmers are in the process of devleing laws on water mangement. The spring is now cleaned and fenced. We are also asked by the farmers to help with the purchse of additional gabion wires and the farmers will use their labor to collect stones and fill it.
When the stream is fully recharged, we believe that that farmers will not only have water for humans and animals but also for spreading their gardens close to the spring.
the first gabion check dam half filled with sand
the main check dam filled with sand after the rain
The stream before the building of the check dam
the crick before the check dam was built
gabion wires to build check dams