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By Susan Davis, Executive Director, Improve International

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This is an unrestored area (a sort of “before”)

In July I visited the watershed restoration site in Kaloo (aka Kalu aka Harbu)  Woreda in Ethiopia.   The photo above shows  a nearby unrestored area – what the area used to look like. Six years ago, the spring that used to serve surrounding communities had gone dry.

CRS and its local partner Water Action helped 140 households in three towns in the area to plant seedlings, build terrace walls, and “hydrobasins” (shallow holes near the walls). 40 hectares have been repaired. This was the first time I’ve seen a watershed project years after it started – usually I see them at the beginning.

After - the walls and the "hydrobasins" (holes) slow and trap rainfall so that it sinks into the ground

After – the walls and the “hydrobasins” (holes) slow and trap rainfall so that it sinks into the ground and recharges the spring

Six years later, the results are pretty dramatic.  Where it was brown, it is now green. The fields in the valley below were silted before, but now families can grow corn there. To prevent a repeat of the deforestation, Water Action has also introduced fuel-efficient stoves.  People who live around the watershed can cut the grass (but not the trees) to sell. And — maybe best of all — the spring is rejuvenated and provides water for the nearby households.  We saw some girls fetching water while we were there.

Girls fetching water from the rejuvenated spring

Girls fetching water from the rejuvenated spring

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