Barriers for water run-off prevention in Niger

Impacts addressed



Country/region/village: Niger/Tondikiwindi/Darey 

Community: Darey


The Darey community in Niger is experiencing the impacts of climate change through drought, causing land degradation and a decrease in crop yields. Water and wind erosion also contribute to a reduction in soil fertility (leaching of minerals), leading to loss of arable lands, decrease in agricultural productivity, food insecurity and rural poverty. Faced with the degradation of pastoral resources, agro-pastoralists have developed a technique of making barriers of rock on all degraded pastoral areas. This technique makes it possible to prevent runoff water during rainfall thus contributing to a progressive regeneration of vegetation on degraded lands. In addition, barriers prevent the creation of gullies, thus preventing loss of land which destroy crops often noted in watersheds. This endogenous technology is practiced in the forestry and livestock sectors. It is an endogenous technology used in adaptation and mitigation to climate change and specifically addresses food insecurity, especially for livestock and livelihood activities.The technique is practiced on bare or degraded soils experiencing variability of rainfall and wind erosion.


The barriers are built by stones and natural material on a plateu around the crops, using the following dimensions: 100 m (length) X 15m (width) X 0.6m (height), in staggered rows. This setting helps to reduce the run-off and specifically, enhance the water retention capacity in between the barriers. In addition to the integration of special forest species along the embankment (Acacia senegalensis or nilotica), the improvement of the water retention through the downstream area of the plateau provides an opportinuty for the Darey community to face the erratic water shortage during the rainy season. From that perspective, the barriers constitute a sound and appropriate technologies to combat land degradation and the water shortage exasperated by climate change, especially in arid and degraded land. According to estimates made by the populations, the development of barriers per ha requires approximately 177475 F CFA / ha (USD 355). For some soils, this can go up to 200,000 F CFA / ha (USD 400). These estimates include the cost of wheelbarrows, shovels, picks, human labor, stones, etc

Benefits of the technology

The rocky barriers are designed to

  • Collect runoffs; 
  • Prevent water erosion;
  • Improve soil fertility
  • Provide protection against strong winds and improving biodiversity (Gradual Regeneration)
  • Contribute to increased agro-sylvo-pastoral production
  • Increase incomes and livelihood support

Agro-pastoralists represent the main beneficiaries of this technology application. In addition, riparian villages indirectly benefit from knowledge by participating in their development.

Gender considerations

Women and children are adversely affected by the decline of agricultural productivity in such degraded areas of Darey and this land restoration and water retention technology significantly help to improve the climate resilience of vulnerable groups. The rocky barriers are normally made by the women of Darey who participate actively on the deployment of the technology by supporting the construction of the barriers. From this standing point, their contribution are complementary to the workforce of men of Darey’s community.

Potential for technology transfer and up-scaling

The technology is proven and well mastered by the Darey community and they are practically proficient in the techniques of building the barriers for water run-off prevention. As the technology is advanced in the Darey area and does not require much academic training, the potential for replication is relatively high across similar degraded areas and will need only a training session on the barrier arrangements, on the setting of the embankment of stones and the reforestation techniques, etc. In addition to field visits to facilitate the sharing of good practices, targeted communication will be needed to scale up the technology of these barriers. Good practises is to promote exchange visits among local populations.

The development of technology can be limited by

  • Soil infertility;
  • Inadequacy of strong workforce to restore the degraded soil;
  • Limited access to financial resources and lack of adapted tools.


Bello O. M. M. 2016. Bonnes Pratiques en matière de gestion des terres, gestion des ressources naturelles et changements climatiques, rapport  Intermédiaire, CILSS,  84 p.

Dramé A. Kiema A. 2016. Connaissances endogènes : les bonnes pratiques d’atténuation et d’adaptation aux changements climatiques en Afrique de l’Ouest, Enda Energie, 94 p

MESUDD, 2014. Cadre Stratégique de Gestion Durable des Terres (CS-GDT)