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Water for Eastern Equatoria (W4EE) project in South Sudan

This solution is one of 18 climate change adaptation solutions shared in Mountains ADAPT: Solutions from East Africa, which showcases adaptation solutions proven to be successful in response to specific issues caused or accelerated by climate change. These solutions were selected for their inclusive approaches, their potential to be transferred and upscaled, as well as their extended benefits for downstream communities across the East Africa Community. This solution is described in the booklet on page 34: "Manage your catchment".
Multiple Authors
New communal water points © W4EE


The Water for Eastern Equatoria (W4EE) project, implemented between 2013 and 2019 in the Kenneti basin, South Sudan, aimed to develop integrated water resources management that was conflict-sensitive, climate-resilient, and that contributed to different local sectors.

The Imatong Mountains are located in south-eastern South Sudan, in the Eastern Equatoria region. These mountains and the neighboring areas are experiencing climate change effects manifested through prolonged periods of severe drought and water shortages, which greatly affect the economic activities of the communities that rely on natural resources for their livelihoods. Due to unsustainable activities such as deforestation, land degradation, and poor cultivation on hillsides, the Kenneti watershed has seen heavy soil erosion and pollution of the river. This in turn has threatened the lives of the communities whose water supply is interlinked with the watershed and the ecosystem’s wildlife populations.

Dry spells have created an increase in the competition for water resources between crop farmers and pastoralists, leading to conflict between these groups and conflicts between different pastoralist groups. During the rainy seasons, floods have caused damage to many farmers’ crops. This comes on top of the already tense political situation and the violent conflicts the country has experienced.

To develop resilience in the targeted communities, the W4EE project established sustainable water infrastructure (e.g. subsurface dams), put in place small water distribution systems and rehabilitated dilapidated water points. It was a large-scale project that sought to create a holistic approach to water management that would meet the needs of various groups, increasing water access for farmers to irrigate their crops during droughts and for pastoralists to provide for their animals. By having an inclusive agenda, the project solutions introduced collaborative structures and, as a result, reduced conflicts between groups depending on the same water resources.Additionally, farmers received equipment such as treadle water pumps to enhance their crop farming during the dry seasons, which has improved their ability to withstand pressure from climatic changes, promoted household food security and enabled them to generate an income from selling the surplus produce. Pastoralists also have improved access to water for their cattle thanks to the extension of water distribution points. Finally, given that in this region, fetching and collecting water is often part of women’s tasks, and that going out to fetch water poses a risk of violence for many of them, the new infrastructure installed has also contributed to improving women’s security.

The backbone of the solution is the institutional structure of the integrated water resource management of the Kenneti catchment and the surrounding areas.


Implementation sites:
  • Single country
  • Single location
Mountain region:
  • Imatong Mountains

Site locations:
  • Torit and Kapoeta States in Eastern Equatoria, South Sudan   

Solution scale:
Ecosystem type(s):
Solution type(s):
Climate impact(s) addressed:
Impact time-scales:
Implementation timeline:
  • 2013 - 2019
Sendai targets:

Solution details

Main beneficiaries & outcomes

The project estimates to have benefited as many as 330,000 people by providing access to clean water. The W4EE constructed 93 new water points and rehabilitated 200 existing ones. Among the beneficiaries were 20,000 farmers and 16,500 students. The interventions improved household income, food security and the standards of living in the project area.

The armed conflict-affected the project, causing insecurity for implementers and participants. However, the close involvement of the community in the project established local ownership, which strongly contributed to successes despite the difficult surroundings. When the conflict intensified, the project adapted its plan to generate quick-impact interventions to address the resulting humanitarian crisis, particularly by seeking solutions to the insufficient food production and lack of income opportunities for residents.