Capturing rain water

Poilao dam capo verdeThe Poilão Dam, Cape Verde © L Soares

Four dams are being built in Cape Verde to improve the agriculture and livestock sectors, supply water to the population preventing urban migration and combat desertification. The Figueira Gorda, Salineiro, Faveta and Saquinho dams on the island of Santiago have been built with funding from the Portuguese Government. Figueira Gorda will be the largest dam in the country, with a storage capacity of 1.8 million m3 of water, which should provide water for 480 farmers, occupying a total area of 150 ha. These dams are mainly supplied by rainwater which only falls between July and October. 

The first dam built in Cape Verde, in Poilão, also on Santiago Island, was finished in 2006 and paid for by China. It now benefits around 300 farming families. After it was completed it enabled drip irrigation systems to be installed, replacing the earlier system using flooding, which has resulted in higher and better quality agricultural produce, including potato, and led to the emergence of fresh fruits and vegetables in the island’s markets. The Cape-Verdian Government has plans to build a total of 17 dams and over 70 dykes by 2016.

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