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Under ground water abstraction for livestock production [Uganda]


technologies_2304 - Uganda

Completeness: 86%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Technology

Key resource person(s)

SLM specialist:

Obita Churchill

Ayom village savings group

Name of project which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
Scaling-up SLM practices by smallholder farmers (IFAD)
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
Centre Ecologique Albert Schweitzer (CEAS) - Switzerland

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:


1.4 Declaration on sustainability of the described Technology

Is the Technology described here problematic with regard to land degradation, so that it cannot be declared a sustainable land management technology?


2. Description of the SLM Technology

2.1 Short description of the Technology

Definition of the Technology:

Waterhole is excavated for abstracting underground water for watering livestock as well as irrigating crops during the dry season.

2.2 Detailed description of the Technology


Underground water abstraction is done by excavating a pit hole in the ground fixed and protected against collapse to reach water underground . A hole measuring 2-6 m deep , 2 m wide and 3 m long is manually dug in the ground/ soil and established far distant from the homes and near the streams to allow water to collect and come up . The hole is shaped in such a way that water does not flow out, and the top is covered to keep the water in the hole protected from contamination. The opening is covered with local materials like poles, bamboo stems (Bamboo aridinarifolia), etc. Water flows into the hole through various methods of groundwater recharge such as open wells, soak pits, and recharge shaft/ trench.

The activities involved in establishing such a underground water hole include (1) identifying suitable site for digging the hole, (2) looking for trainer or expert to advise on how to dig and cover the hole, (3) looking for labor, and tools (e.g. hoes, spades, poles, etc.), (4) digging the hole to a depth of about 2-6 m, de-pending on the level of water table, (5) protect the hole with bamboo or wood to ensure hygiene and from people falling in.
The returns derived from this technology include: an effective alternative water source during the dry season which is used for crop irrigation (e.g. maize – Zea mays; cabbage - Brassica oleracea) and for livestock production/ watering.
This technology is most preferred because it is cheap, affordable and easy to maintain. The only costs are at the establishment phase. Its main challenge is that it can be contaminated when managed poorly if animals are allowed to close to the hole. To ensure this, the farmer needs to keep in contact with the extension agent to ensure maximum proper management of the hole to minimize contamination.

In terms of impacts, the technology provides an effective alternative water source during the dry season, which is used majorly for livestock and irrigating crops.

Because the technology is promoted as a supplementary water source for the dry season, during the wet season grass may grow on top of the protected hole. Before its use in the dry season the land user removes the grass before abstracting the well water for crop production and 5 heads of livestock kept in distance of 50 m-100 m from the well.

2.3 Photos of the Technology

General remarks regarding photos:

The grass left to grow does not imply poor management but a protection for a longer period leading to dry season when there is shortage of water.

2.4 Videos of the Technology

Comments, short description:

Video showing underground water abstraction for animal production using : A deep hole is dug and covered with wood and bamboo to provide water for livestock during the dry season.




Ayom Village, Nyaya parish, Padibe West Sub-county, Lamwo District.

Name of videographer:

Issa Aiga

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Technology has been applied and which are covered by this assessment



Region/ State/ Province:

Nothern Region

Further specification of location:


Specify the spread of the Technology:
  • applied at specific points/ concentrated on a small area

Map showing technology site in Northern Uganda

2.6 Date of implementation

Indicate year of implementation:


If precise year is not known, indicate approximate date:
  • less than 10 years ago (recently)

2.7 Introduction of the Technology

Specify how the Technology was introduced:
  • through land users' innovation

3. Classification of the SLM Technology

3.1 Main purpose(s) of the Technology

  • improve production
  • reduce risk of disasters
  • adapt to climate change/ extremes and its impacts

3.2 Current land use type(s) where the Technology is applied



  • Annual cropping
Number of growing seasons per year:
  • 2

During the dry season because this is the appropriate time when there is shortage of drinking water for the livestock and crop production.

Grazing land

Grazing land

Intensive grazing/ fodder production:
  • Cut-and-carry/ zero grazing

3.4 Water supply

Water supply for the land on which the Technology is applied:
  • mixed rainfed-irrigated

Irrigated with the harvested water.

3.5 SLM group to which the Technology belongs

  • integrated crop-livestock management
  • water harvesting
  • irrigation management (incl. water supply, drainage)

3.6 SLM measures comprising the Technology

structural measures

structural measures

  • S7: Water harvesting/ supply/ irrigation equipment
  • S9: Shelters for plants and animals

3.7 Main types of land degradation addressed by the Technology

soil erosion by water

soil erosion by water

  • Wt: loss of topsoil/ surface erosion
  • Wg: gully erosion/ gullying
  • Wm: mass movements/ landslides
  • Wo: offsite degradation effects
soil erosion by wind

soil erosion by wind

physical soil deterioration

physical soil deterioration

water degradation

water degradation

  • Hs: change in quantity of surface water
  • Hg: change in groundwater/aquifer level
  • Hp: decline of surface water quality
  • Hq: decline of groundwater quality

3.8 Prevention, reduction, or restoration of land degradation

Specify the goal of the Technology with regard to land degradation:
  • prevent land degradation
  • reduce land degradation

Through water erosion

4. Technical specifications, implementation activities, inputs, and costs

4.1 Technical drawing of the Technology






Kaheru Prossy



4.2 General information regarding the calculation of inputs and costs

Specify how costs and inputs were calculated:
  • per Technology area
Indicate size and area unit:

0.5 acres

other/ national currency (specify):


If relevant, indicate exchange rate from USD to local currency (e.g. 1 USD = 79.9 Brazilian Real): 1 USD =:


Indicate average wage cost of hired labour per day:

5000 per person per day

4.3 Establishment activities

Activity Timing (season)
1. Identify site Once before establishment
2. Look for expert to train on how to dig the hole Once before establishment
3. Look for labour to dig the hole During the dry season
4. Buy inputs required ( hoes, spades, poles and bamboo) Before establishment
5. Sinking the hole During establishment
6. Protect the hole with Bamboo After establishment
7. Livestock keeping Before and after establishment
8. Carrying water for the livestock During the dry season

4.4 Costs and inputs needed for establishment

Specify input Unit Quantity Costs per Unit Total costs per input % of costs borne by land users
Labour Labour for digging the hole Persons 5.0 5000.0 25000.0 100.0
Equipment Hoe Pieces 1.0 10000.0 10000.0 100.0
Equipment Spade Pieces 1.0 10000.0 10000.0 100.0
Equipment Poles for protecting the hole Pieces 100.0 200.0 20000.0 100.0
Plant material Bamboo for protecting the hole Pieces 1.0 10000.0 10000.0 100.0
Total costs for establishment of the Technology 75000.0

4.5 Maintenance/ recurrent activities

Activity Timing/ frequency
1. Slashing of plants and grass grown on top of the hole After establishment
2. Hygiene Inspection Daily
3. Transporting water for livestock and crop production Dry season

4.6 Costs and inputs needed for maintenance/ recurrent activities (per year)

Specify input Unit Quantity Costs per Unit Total costs per input % of costs borne by land users
Labour Labour for slashing of grown plants and grass Persons 2.0 5000.0 10000.0 100.0
Labour Labour for transporting water for livestock Persons 2.0 5000.0 10000.0 100.0
Labour Labour for Hygiene inspection (monthly) Persons 3.0 2000.0 6000.0 100.0
Equipment Test kit Pieces 1.0 100000.0 100000.0 100.0
Other Pesticides (monthly) litres 3.0 12000.0 36000.0 100.0
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology 162000.0

The costs of maintenance are higher than establishment due to the daily routine costs.Hygiene inspection does not require alot of labour.It only requires more routine inspection.

4.7 Most important factors affecting the costs

Describe the most determinate factors affecting the costs:

Hygiene inspection.

5. Natural and human environment

5.1 Climate

Annual rainfall
  • < 250 mm
  • 251-500 mm
  • 501-750 mm
  • 751-1,000 mm
  • 1,001-1,500 mm
  • 1,501-2,000 mm
  • 2,001-3,000 mm
  • 3,001-4,000 mm
  • > 4,000 mm
Specifications/ comments on rainfall:

Fair rainfall in the months of April to October and dry spell from Nov-March.

Agro-climatic zone
  • sub-humid

5.2 Topography

Slopes on average:
  • flat (0-2%)
  • gentle (3-5%)
  • moderate (6-10%)
  • rolling (11-15%)
  • hilly (16-30%)
  • steep (31-60%)
  • very steep (>60%)
  • plateau/plains
  • ridges
  • mountain slopes
  • hill slopes
  • footslopes
  • valley floors
Altitudinal zone:
  • 0-100 m a.s.l.
  • 101-500 m a.s.l.
  • 501-1,000 m a.s.l.
  • 1,001-1,500 m a.s.l.
  • 1,501-2,000 m a.s.l.
  • 2,001-2,500 m a.s.l.
  • 2,501-3,000 m a.s.l.
  • 3,001-4,000 m a.s.l.
  • > 4,000 m a.s.l.
Indicate if the Technology is specifically applied in:
  • concave situations

5.3 Soils

Soil depth on average:
  • very shallow (0-20 cm)
  • shallow (21-50 cm)
  • moderately deep (51-80 cm)
  • deep (81-120 cm)
  • very deep (> 120 cm)
Soil texture (topsoil):
  • medium (loamy, silty)
Soil texture (> 20 cm below surface):
  • medium (loamy, silty)
Topsoil organic matter:
  • medium (1-3%)

5.4 Water availability and quality

Ground water table:

5-50 m

Availability of surface water:


Water quality (untreated):

good drinking water

Is water salinity a problem?


Is flooding of the area occurring?


5.5 Biodiversity

Species diversity:
  • medium
Habitat diversity:
  • medium

5.6 Characteristics of land users applying the Technology

Sedentary or nomadic:
  • Sedentary
Market orientation of production system:
  • mixed (subsistence/ commercial)
Off-farm income:
  • less than 10% of all income
Relative level of wealth:
  • poor
Individuals or groups:
  • groups/ community
Level of mechanization:
  • manual work
  • women
  • men
Age of land users:
  • youth
  • middle-aged
Indicate other relevant characteristics of the land users:

The farmer is middle aged and the children who are the youth help transport water for livestock and crop production.

5.7 Average area of land used by land users applying the Technology

  • < 0.5 ha
  • 0.5-1 ha
  • 1-2 ha
  • 2-5 ha
  • 5-15 ha
  • 15-50 ha
  • 50-100 ha
  • 100-500 ha
  • 500-1,000 ha
  • 1,000-10,000 ha
  • > 10,000 ha
Is this considered small-, medium- or large-scale (referring to local context)?
  • medium-scale

5.8 Land ownership, land use rights, and water use rights

Land ownership:
  • individual, not titled
Land use rights:
  • individual
Water use rights:
  • individual

5.9 Access to services and infrastructure

  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
technical assistance:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
employment (e.g. off-farm):
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
roads and transport:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
drinking water and sanitation:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
financial services:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good

6. Impacts and concluding statements

6.1 On-site impacts the Technology has shown

Socio-economic impacts


crop production

Comments/ specify:

Due to irrigation water

animal production

Quantity before SLM:


Comments/ specify:

More milk produced and sold from 0 to 10 litres per day each litre sold at 0.35 USD

Water availability and quality

water availability for livestock

Comments/ specify:

water is available for livestock during dry spells

water quality for livestock

Comments/ specify:

underground water clean. not poluted

irrigation water availability

Comments/ specify:

water available for irrigating crops in the dry season

irrigation water quality

Comments/ specify:

underground water is not poluted

Income and costs

farm income

Comments/ specify:

extented crop cultivation and increased production during dry seasons

6.2 Off-site impacts the Technology has shown

water availability

Comments/ specify:

Especially during the dry season for livestock and crop production

reliable and stable stream flows in dry season

Comments/ specify:

Kept to be used in the dry season for livestock and crop prouduction

6.3 Exposure and sensitivity of the Technology to gradual climate change and climate-related extremes/ disasters (as perceived by land users)

Gradual climate change

Gradual climate change
Season increase or decrease How does the Technology cope with it?
annual temperature decrease not well at all
seasonal temperature winter decrease not well at all

6.4 Cost-benefit analysis

How do the benefits compare with the establishment costs (from land users’ perspective)?
Short-term returns:


Long-term returns:

very positive

How do the benefits compare with the maintenance/ recurrent costs (from land users' perspective)?
Short-term returns:

slightly positive

Long-term returns:

slightly positive


The difference is only with the hygiene inspection costs. low at establishment but high at hygiene inspection which is routine.

6.5 Adoption of the Technology

  • single cases/ experimental
Of all those who have adopted the Technology, how many did so spontaneously, i.e. without receiving any material incentives/ payments?
  • 0-10%

6.6 Adaptation

Has the Technology been modified recently to adapt to changing conditions?


If yes, indicate to which changing conditions it was adapted:
  • climatic change/ extremes
Specify adaptation of the Technology (design, material/ species, etc.):

The technology allows vegetation growth around the bamboo and poles.

6.7 Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities of the Technology

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the land user’s view
The technology provides constant water supply for livestock and crop production to be used during the dry season when there is shortage of water.
Its cheap and easy to maintain once established.
It can be replicated and used by other farmers in other areas.
Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
The technology is effective in minimising water wastage and enhancing water access during the dry season but is established over along distance 1 km from the homestead where the cows are kept.

6.8 Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks of the Technology and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the land user’s view How can they be overcome?
The technology requires routine labour for inspection and technical know how. Training on hygiene inspection.
Dangerous to roaming animals and people when they fall in. Protection using a berbed wire fence or using local local materials (wood).
Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
Not fenced. The fence was removed. Fencing to protect animals .
Need strong bylaw on under groundwater management. Facilitate formulation and implementation of bylaw on under groundwater management.

7. References and links

7.1 Methods/ sources of information

  • field visits, field surveys

01 key informant

  • interviews with land users


When were the data compiled (in the field)?


Links and modules

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