Technologies

Permeable rock dams [Burkina Faso]

Digues filtrantes (French)

technologies_1617 - Burkina Faso

Completeness: 69%

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:
SLM specialist:

Dorlöchter-Sulser Sabine

Misereor

Germany

SLM specialist:

Mamadou Abdou Sani

Programme d’Appui à l’agriculture Productive (PROMAP)/GIZ

Niger

Name of project which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
Manual of Good Practices in Small Scale Irrigation in the Sahel (GIZ )
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) - Germany
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
Misereor - Germany

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:

Ja

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?

Geen

2. Description of the SLM Technology

2.1 Short description of the Technology

Definition of the Technology:

Permeable rock dams serve to restore seriously degraded farmland and forest/rangeland and are used to fill in gullies and control water flow.

2.2 Detailed description of the Technology

Description:

The permeable rock dam is a structure built in gullies using loose rocks and stones and sometimes reinforced with gabions. A filtering layer (blanket of gravel or small stones) is laid in a foundation trench. Further layers of medium-sized and large stones and rocks are laid on top. They are between 0.50 and 3 metres high, and the width of the foundation and the crest depends on the estimated volume of water flow. The structure built across the gully is extended to the sides with the construction of wingwalls that spread the water over a larger area to the sides of the dam. The total width of the structure is generally at least three times its height. The dams can be constructed with or without a spillway. A spillway is required when flood water flow is stronger.

Purpose of the Technology: Permeable rock dams are used to fill in gullies and control water flow. They slow the flow of floodwaters and spread the water over adjacent land. This improves infiltration, and sediment builds up behind the dams. In time, the sediment fills in the gully. This stops lateral drainage from the land on either side, increasing its productivity. High infiltration upstream of the dam contributes to recharging the groundwater system. These structures are therefore also effective in raising the water table in wells and in protecting the bottom-lands from sand filling and gully erosion. They are used in combination with other measures, such as reforestation and stone bunds, to protect and improve the surrounding area, and to increase the area of land that can be used for growing crops.
By dissipating the flow of floodwaters, they ensure better use of rainwater and are therefore important in dry periods. The conservation of water for longer periods and the fine particles of earth trapped by the structure favour the establishment of natural vegetation along it, which helps to stabilise the dam. Seeds are also trapped, favouring the spontaneous growth of grass and trees upstream and downstream, which contributes to restoring and conserving biodiversity.

Establishment / maintenance activities and inputs: The sustainability of permeable rock dams depends on the quality of construction and whether they are maintained regularly. A certain amount of expertise and good community organisation is required to repair any cracks in
the dam. Biological measures (sowing grass and planting trees) increase the stability of the structure.
The size of a permeable rock dam can vary considerably from one site to another. The cost is also affected by the distance of the site from the quarry, the topography of the terrain and the actual amount of rock carried in each lorryload. It costs less to construct this type of structure with loose stones and rocks than with gabions.

2.3 Photos of the Technology

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

Country:

Burkina Faso

Region/ State/ Province:

Burkina Faso, Chad

Comments:

Burkina Faso & Chad

2.6 Date of implementation

If precise year is not known, indicate approximate date:
  • 10-50 years ago

2.7 Introduction of the Technology

Specify how the Technology was introduced:
  • through projects/ external interventions
Comments (type of project, etc.):

developed, implemented and disseminated as part of projects and programmes undertaken from the 1980s onwards to combat desertification and improve natural resource management. Implemented by GIZ (German Federal Enterprise for International Cooperation), and PATECORE (project for land development and resource conservation in Plateau Central Burkina Faso)

3. Classification of the SLM Technology

3.1 Main purpose(s) of the Technology

  • reduce, prevent, restore land degradation

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

Land use mixed within the same land unit:

Ja

Specify mixed land use (crops/ grazing/ trees):
  • Agro-pastoralism (incl. integrated crop-livestock)

Cropland

Cropland

  • Annual cropping
Number of growing seasons per year:
  • 1
Specify:

Longest growing period in days: 120, Longest growing period from month to month: August to October

Grazing land

Grazing land

Comments:

Major land use problems (compiler’s opinion): soil erosion, surface runoff, unfertile land
Constraints of common grazing land
Constraints of forested government-owned land or commons

3.5 SLM group to which the Technology belongs

  • cross-slope measure
  • water diversion and drainage
  • surface water management (spring, river, lakes, sea)

3.6 SLM measures comprising the Technology

structural measures

structural measures

  • S5: Dams, pans, ponds

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
  • Wc: coastal erosion
chemical soil deterioration

chemical soil deterioration

  • Cn: fertility decline and reduced organic matter content (not caused by erosion)
biological degradation

biological degradation

  • Bc: reduction of vegetation cover
water degradation

water degradation

  • Ha: aridification
  • Hg: change in groundwater/aquifer level
Comments:

Main causes of degradation: soil management (Unadapted land use methods, reduced or abandoned fallow periods), floods, droughts, population pressure (rapidly growing population increasing pressure on land), land tenure (insecure access to land)

3.8 Prevention, reduction, or restoration of land degradation

Specify the goal of the Technology with regard to land degradation:
  • prevent land degradation
  • restore/ rehabilitate severely degraded land

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

4.1 Technical drawing of the Technology

Technical specifications (related to technical drawing):

Permeable rock dam with spillway

Technical knowledge required for field staff / advisors: moderate
Technical knowledge required for land users: low

Main technical functions: control of dispersed runoff: retain / trap, control of dispersed runoff: impede / retard, control of concentrated runoff: retain / trap, control of concentrated runoff: impede / retard, control of concentrated runoff: drain / divert, stabilisation of soil (eg by tree roots against land slides), increase in nutrient availability (supply, recycling,…), increase of infiltration, increase / maintain water stored in soil, increase of groundwater level / recharge of groundwater, water harvesting / increase water supply, sediment retention / trapping, sediment harvesting

Dam/ pan/ pond
Depth of ditches/pits/dams (m): 0.5-3
Width of ditches/pits/dams (m): 9

Author:

PATECORE

4.7 Most important factors affecting the costs

Describe the most determinate factors affecting the costs:

The size of a permeable rock dam can vary considerably from one site to another. The cost is also affected by the distance of the site from the quarry, the topography of the terrain and the actual amount of rock carried in each lorryload. The use of gabions also increases the cost considerably.
cost items:
- Topographical surveying
- supply of quarry rock/stones: 113 m3 per 100 linear metres.
- Labour: depends on the size of the dam.
- Transportation by lorry: 23 lorryloads (skip loader – 4.5 m3 per load).
Other costs: Equipment (pickaxes, shovels, wheelbarrows, water-tube level, etc.).

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
Agro-climatic zone
  • semi-arid

Thermal climate class: subtropics

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%)
Landforms:
  • 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.
Comments and further specifications on topography:

Slopes on average: Also moderate (6-10%), rolling (11-15%)
Landforms: Also valley floors
Altitudinal zone: Also 1000-1500 m a.s.l.

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)
  • fine/ heavy (clay)
If available, attach full soil description or specify the available information, e.g. soil type, soil PH/ acidity, Cation Exchange Capacity, nitrogen, salinity etc.

Soil fertility: Medium and low
Soil drainage/infiltration: Medium and poor
Soil water storage capacity: Medium and low

5.4 Water availability and quality

Ground water table:

5-50 m

Availability of surface water:

medium

5.5 Biodiversity

Species diversity:
  • low

5.6 Characteristics of land users applying the Technology

Relative level of wealth:
  • very poor
  • poor
Gender:
  • men
Indicate other relevant characteristics of the land users:

Population density: 10-50 persons/km2
Annual population growth: 3% - 4% (mostly poor households below poverty line).
Off-farm income specification: men migrate temporarily or permanently to cities for off-farm income

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)?
  • small-scale

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

Land ownership:
  • state
Land use rights:
  • communal (organized)
Water use rights:
  • communal (organized)
Comments:

traditional land use rights on fields, common lands on pasture and forest land

5.9 Access to services and infrastructure

health:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
education:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
technical assistance:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
employment (e.g. off-farm):
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
markets:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
energy:
  • 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

Production

crop production

decreased
increased

fodder production

decreased
increased

wood production

decreased
increased

production area

decreased
increased
Income and costs

farm income

decreased
increased

Socio-cultural impacts

food security/ self-sufficiency

reduced
improved

SLM/ land degradation knowledge

reduced
improved

Improved livelihoods and human well-being

decreased
increased
Comments/ specify:

As these dams are used in valley bottoms and the beds of seasonal streams to increase infiltration, they can also contribute to raising the water table. Such sites are particularly suitable for horticulture and market gardening, which is important in the off-season. The produce supplements the food available and is an extra source of income.

Ecological impacts

Water cycle/ runoff

harvesting/ collection of water

reduced
improved

surface runoff

increased
decreased

groundwater table/ aquifer

lowered
recharge
Soil

soil moisture

decreased
increased

soil cover

reduced
improved

soil loss

increased
decreased

nutrient cycling/ recharge

decreased
increased
Biodiversity: vegetation, animals

plant diversity

decreased
increased

6.2 Off-site impacts the Technology has shown

downstream flooding

increased
reduced

downstream siltation

increased
decreased

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 increase well

Climate-related extremes (disasters)

Meteorological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
local rainstorm not well
local windstorm well
Climatological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
drought well
Hydrological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
general (river) flood not well

Other climate-related consequences

Other climate-related consequences
How does the Technology cope with it?
reduced growing period well
Comments:

Physical structures can be biologically stabilized through planting of grass, bushes or trees. Damages are generally small but need to be repaired quickly.

6.4 Cost-benefit analysis

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

positive

Long-term returns:

positive

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

positive

Long-term returns:

very positive

6.5 Adoption of the Technology

Comments:

There is a little trend towards spontaneous adoption of the Technology
Comments on adoption trend: The potential for replication depends on the type of terrain and whether there is a supply of rocks nearby.

6.7 Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities of the Technology

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
Permeable rock dams are used to fill in gullies and control water flow. They slow the flow of floodwaters and spread the water over adjacent land. This improves infiltration, and sediment builds up behind the dams. In time, the sediment fills in the gully which favours the establishment of natural vegetation along it, which helps to stabilise the dam. Seeds are also trapped, favouring the spontaneous growth of grass and trees upstream and downstream, which contributes to restoring and conserving biodiversity.
By dissipating floodwater flow, they also contribute to reducing sand filling in valleys further downstream.
As these dams are used in valley bottoms and the beds of seasonal streams to increase infiltration, they can also contribute to raising the water table. Such sites are particularly suitable for horticulture and market gardening, which is important in the off-season. The produce supplements the food available and is an extra source of income.
increase the area of land that can be used for growing crops

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

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
Depending on the size of the dam, the construction of this type of structure may require a high level of engineering expertise (topographical surveying, calculation of floodwater flow).It also requires a large amount of quarry rocks, which means that the cost of the structure and the labour and transport required is significantly higher than for structures made with stones. As the data required for calculating floodwater flow is often unavailable, the dams must be observed during the first few years, so that they can be reinforced and repaired if necessary. It is important for farmers to have access to partners providing the necessary know-how, means of transport and support for community organisation. The community must be trained to carry out repair work.

7. References and links

7.1 Methods/ sources of information

  • field visits, field surveys
  • interviews with land users
When were the data compiled (in the field)?

01/07/2012

7.3 Links to relevant online information

Title/ description:

Good Practices in Soil and Water Conservation. A contribution to adaptation and farmers´ resilience towards climate change in the Sahel. Published by GIZ in 2012.

URL:

http://agriwaterpedia.info/wiki/Main_Page

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