Bunds are doing their job: regreening Kenya and reducing flooding
Together with Maasai communities, Justdiggit dug 78,400 semi-circular bunds to catch rainwater and brought back vegetation to the once degraded areas in Kuku, Kenya. Heavy rainfall in the past months caused serious flooding in low parts of the country, but also boosted the country’s regreening projects.
After many years of droughts, Kenya saw heavy rainfall over the past months and is now hit hard by severe flooding. However, the rainfall also has its upsides, especially for the regreening project by Justdiggit in Kuku in Southern Kenya.
Bunds are pits in the ground in the shape of a crescent moon. By digging, the hard top layer of the earth is opened up, ensuring rainwater is retained. Through the bunds the rainwater can get underground. This not only makes the vegetation to return and farmers having more land to increase the food production, it also cools down the climate. Because of the spreading of the rainwater, there is less erosion and less flooding.
Justdiggit reports twice as much rain as usual in January in the project area in Kuku, Kenya; 91 mm instead of the regular 40 mm. The bunds have captured much of the rainwater.
Accordingly, it boosted the regreening and caused less flooding. Even outside the bunds, vegetation has grown.
The excessive rainfall along the whole African east coast was caused by an unusually strong Indian Ocean Dipole, also known as the Indian Niño. An ocean dipole occurs when the surface of the ocean warms up one side while simultaneously cooling down at the other side. The result? Due to the warming up of the water, more moisture gets into the air. This leads to extensive cloud formation. Eventually, these clouds cause lots of rain.
Large scale regreening
Justdiggit has initiated several bund projects in Africa. The aim of these projects is to restore healthy ecosystems that delay the run off of rain water and increase soil moisture.
If done on a large enough scale the landscape changes and this affects local climatic conditions, such as evapotranspiration, temperature, cloud formation. Justdiggit has chosen the locations of its projects strategically to maximize the impact of the projects and create, what it calls regional ‘hydrological corridors’.