NDF - Financing for climate change and development projects

Collecting water from the sky

Members of womens committee in El Tule
21.09.2015

To help communities through periods of drought the Nordic Development Fund finances large-scale water harvesting plants in Nicaragua

“This time is normally the rainy season” tells Armando Coronado, community leader of El Tule, “but so far we have not seen much rain this year.” El Tule is located in the mountains outside of San Isidro in Central Nicaragua. The area is home to about 550 people who cultivate maize, beans and sorghum mainly for household consumption. El Tule was identified in the San Isidro municipal disaster management plan as highly vulnerable to prolonged drought periods. The municipal disaster management plans are used to identify critical areas that need to be addressed in order to increase local resilience to climate change. One of the ways this is being done is through construction of water harvesting plants.

In El Tule a large reservoir is being built to collect rain water helping local inhabitants and their means of production such as livestock and crops survive periods of drought. The capacity for the reservoir at El Tule is 11,500 m3 rain water or equivalent to several months of water use. The environmental impact assessment calculated more than USD 22,000 in avoided annual costs (e.g. health, crop and livestock losses) by building the water harvesting plant. Thus the payback time for the construction will be 4-5 years. The local community will be responsible for operation and maintenance of the water harvesting plant under supervision from San Isidro municipality. The construction period for the water harvesting plant is about 4 months and creates local jobs, in the case of El Tule it is about 30 temporary jobs for both men and women.

The water harvesting infrastructure is part of the Disaster Management and Climate Change Project (PAGRICC in Spanish) financed by Inter-American Development Bank, Nordic Development Fund, and the Swiss Development Agency COSUDE. NDF finances climate modelling, capacity development, baseline data collection, technical studies, and infrastructure in critical areas to avoid disasters. PAGRICC is implemented by MARENA, the Nicaraguan Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, in collaboration with municipalities in central part of the country. The project aims to reduce the rural populations’ vulnerability to natural disasters and increase resilience of communities and watersheds to climate change impacts through planned adaptation measures.

More information

NDF C17: Disaster Management and Climate Change Project