Improved Well Distribution for Sustainable Pastoralism [Niger]

technologies_1355 - Niger

Completeness: 71%

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:
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)

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:


2. Description of the SLM Technology

2.1 Short description of the Technology

Definition of the Technology:

Pastoralism, as practiced in the case study area, is the traditional mode of extensive livestock husbandry, based on the movement of herds between the rich pastures in the northern pastoral zones (rainy season) and the southern areas (dry season) according to seasonal availability of water and grazing land / fodder (including residual vegetation of cropland).

2.2 Detailed description of the Technology


Both forms of pastoralism – nomadism and transhumance – are facing increasing water and fodder availability problems, due to a variety of reasons: change of climatic conditions, expansion of cropland, overstocking and overgrazing, amongst others. In view of these problems, the govern¬ment of Niger has defined by law a pastoral zone, where crop production is limited to subsistence. Within this area ‘Pastoral Modernization Zones’ have been implemented, based on a new concept of semi-pastoralism to assure the sustainability of the pastoral land use system. Several practices are promoted at field level: improved distribution of water points, establishment of water harvesting structures, improved passage ways for herds, improved fodder production, etc. An optimal and efficient network / distribution of water points is a key element of modern sustainable pastoralism: it assures a balanced distribution of herds, and thus avoids overuse of vegetation around a limited number of wells. Since 1998, the number of traditional wells within the 3,000 km2 of Akoubounou pastoral area has increased from 7 to 58: Construction is done by the local community – through trained well diggers. Support is provided by different development actors (government and NGOs). Well committees on community level are responsible for proper management of the wells. A fund for maintenance is established and is topped up through contributions of well users. As a result of the improved well distribution, pastoral areas have been utilised in a more balanced manner, and overgrazing problems have been reduced by 30-40% compared to the situation in 1990.

2.3 Photos of the Technology

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



Region/ State/ Province:

Tahoua region

Further specification of location:

Akouboubou, Abalak

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

Total area covered by the SLM Technology is 3000 km2.

2.7 Introduction of the Technology

Specify how the Technology was introduced:
  • through projects/ external interventions

3. Classification of the SLM Technology

3.1 Main purpose(s) of the Technology

  • reduce, prevent, restore land degradation
  • adapt to climate change/ extremes and its impacts

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



  • Annual cropping
Grazing land

Grazing land

Extensive grazing:
  • Semi-nomadic pastoralism

Major land use problems (land users’ perception): Soil erosion by water, soil erosion by wind; biological degradation (overgrazing), change of climatic conditions, expansion of cropland, overstocking and overgrazing

3.4 Water supply

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

3.5 SLM group to which the Technology belongs

  • pastoralism and grazing land management
  • irrigation management (incl. water supply, drainage)

3.6 SLM measures comprising the Technology

management measures

management measures

  • M3: Layout according to natural and human environment

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
soil erosion by wind

soil erosion by wind

  • Et: loss of topsoil
physical soil deterioration

physical soil deterioration

  • Pc: compaction
biological degradation

biological degradation

  • Bc: reduction of vegetation cover

3.8 Prevention, reduction, or restoration of land degradation

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

Technical knowledge required for field staff / advisors: moderate

Technical knowledge required for land users: low

Main technical functions: improvement of ground cover, improvement of topsoil structure (compaction), increase of biomass (quantity)

Layout change according to natural and human environment: efficient network / distribution of water points

4.2 General information regarding the calculation of inputs and costs

Specify currency used for cost calculations:
  • USD

4.3 Establishment activities

Activity Timing (season)
1. Information and awareness raising campaign in village. Participatory planning (1-2 days) / Identification of sites by population, accompanied by field technicians
2. Formation and training of members of well management committee: laws, responsi¬bilities, steering, evaluation, organization, etc. (3-4 days) / Training of traditional sinkers (by external experts 1998-2000, then farmer-to-farmer training)
3. Dig well shaft: 0.8-1.5 m in diameter and 20-60 m deep (using pickaxe, shovel, bucket)
4. Installer un dispositif de mesure (en cuir de vache ou pneu ; fils et piquets) / Facultatif : tapisser le conduit du puits avec des pierres / ciment (p. ex. si le sol n'est pas assez compact)
5. Construire un mur de protection en pierres et ciment autour du puits (0,2-0,3 m de large et 0,5-1 m de haut)

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 Information and awareness raising campaign in village. Participatory planning campaign 1.0 800.0 800.0 9.0
Labour Construction of well (labour, equipment, material) well 1.0 1200.0 1200.0 9.0
Total costs for establishment of the Technology 2000.0
Total costs for establishment of the Technology in USD 2000.0

4.5 Maintenance/ recurrent activities

Activity Timing/ frequency
1. De-silting of wells Beginning of rainy season; May-June
2. De-silting of wells End of rainy season, Oct.-Nov
3. Reinforce walls of wells with cement End of rainy season, Oct.-Nov
4. Deepen the well in case of descending groundwater level

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 De-silting of wells wells 1.0 280.0 280.0 100.0
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology 280.0
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology in USD 280.0

4.7 Most important factors affecting the costs

Describe the most determinate factors affecting the costs:

A management fund is established and managed by each well committee. Well users contribute annually, or each time maintenance work is needed. Amounts of contribution are not fixed, but up to the individual and generally proportionate to herd size. Committee can fine land users who damage the wells.

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
Specify average annual rainfall (if known), in mm:


Specifications/ comments on rainfall:

Rainy season May-October

Agro-climatic zone
  • semi-arid

Thermal climate class: tropics

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.

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)
Topsoil organic matter:
  • low (<1%)
If available, attach full soil description or specify the available information, e.g. soil type, soil PH/ acidity, Cation Exchange Capacity, nitrogen, salinity etc.

Topsoil organic matter: Mainly low soil organic matter but high in swampy area

Soil drainage / infiltration is good but low in case of soil crusting

5.6 Characteristics of land users applying the Technology

Market orientation of production system:
  • mixed (subsistence/ commercial)
Individuals or groups:
  • groups/ community
Indicate other relevant characteristics of the land users:

Land users applying the Technology are mainly common / average land users

Population density: < 10 persons/km2

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

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

Land ownership:
  • individual, titled
Land use rights:
  • communal (organized)
  • individual

6. Impacts and concluding statements

6.1 On-site impacts the Technology has shown

Socio-economic impacts


fodder production


fodder quality


animal production


Socio-cultural impacts

cultural opportunities


community institutions

Comments/ specify:

Through mutual aid in technology implementation

national institutions

Comments/ specify:

Code rural secretariat

SLM/ land degradation knowledge


Ecological impacts


soil cover


soil loss


nutrient cycling/ recharge

Biodiversity: vegetation, animals

biomass/ above ground C


animal diversity


6.2 Off-site impacts the Technology has shown

wind transported sediments


damage on neighbours' fields


damage on public/ private infrastructure


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

Climate-related extremes (disasters)

Climatological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
drought not well

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:


Long-term returns:

very positive

6.5 Adoption of the Technology

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

There is a moderate trend towards spontaneous adoption of the Technology

Comments on adoption trend: 50 wells have been built in 12 years within a pastoral area of 3000 km2. Implementation is based on incentives (establishment costs mainly paid by projects). However, there is a medium trend towards spontaneous adoption (by new actors)

6.7 Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities of the Technology

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
Reduction of overgrazing problem by 30-40 % with regard to the situation in 1990
Sustainable use of pastoral areas

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?
High cost of implementation and maintenance active participation of pastoralists in establishment and maintenance activities; public investments; national funding system.
Extinction of pastoral culture and traditional practices integrate pastoralists into structural transformation process; promote capacity building of pastoralists

7. References and links

7.2 References to available publications

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Hiernaux P., E. Tielkes, E. Schlecht. 2001. Elevage et gestion des parcours au Sahel, Proceedings de l’atelier organisé par Eric Tielkes et Abdoulaye Sambo Soumaila, Verlag Ulrich E. Grauer, Beuren, Stuttgart, Allemagne, 2001

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Project documents and annual monitoring reports of develpment projects by ADN Nourriterre and HEKS EPER Suisse (2003-2009)

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Jochen Suchantke, Abdoulaye Sambo Soumaila (2001) : Etude cadre pour le programme NIGETIP IV, KfW, Niamey, Niger, 2001

7.3 Links to relevant online information

Title/ description:

Soumaila A.S. 2003. Base de données du code rural


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