Over-reliance on water infrastructure can hinder climate resilience in pastoral drylands

Piemontese, Luigi, Terzi, Stefano, Di Baldassarre, Giuliano, Menestrey Schwieger, Diego A., Castelli, Giuliano and Bresci, Elena, (2024). Over-reliance on water infrastructure can hinder climate resilience in pastoral drylands. Nature Climate Change, 267-274

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  • Sub-type Journal article
    Author Piemontese, Luigi
    Terzi, Stefano
    Di Baldassarre, Giuliano
    Menestrey Schwieger, Diego A.
    Castelli, Giuliano
    Bresci, Elena
    Title Over-reliance on water infrastructure can hinder climate resilience in pastoral drylands
    Appearing in Nature Climate Change
    Publication Date 2024-02-16
    Place of Publication London
    Publisher Springer Nature
    Start page 267
    End page 274
    Language eng
    Abstract Extreme droughts are affecting millions of livestock farmers in sub-Saharan Africa, causing water shortages, famines, migration and fatalities. The construction of new small water infrastructures (SWIs), such as deep wells and boreholes, is increasingly supported by climate resilience programmes of non-governmental organizations and national governments to improve water availability for agro-pastoralists, especially as an emergency response to extreme droughts. Although the short-term benefits of SWI are clear, their potential cumulative impact and their long-term effects on the resilience of dryland communities remain unclear. Here, building on in-depth anthropological literature from five key African drylands, we model post-drought pastoralists’ dynamics related to SWI. We show that while developing new SWI releases water shortages in the short term, it can erode traditional adaptation practices without adequate governance. We further illustrate how our model captures early quantitative signals of resilience loss in dryland Angola. This indicates that poorly governed water development in African drylands can be a limiting factor for the long-term resilience of pastoral communities facing a range of social, demographic, economic and climate challenges.
    Copyright Holder Springer Nature
    Copyright Year 2024
    Copyright type Creative commons
    DOI 10.1038/s41558-024-01929-z
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    Created: Mon, 18 Mar 2024, 21:45:32 JST by Aarti Basnyat on behalf of UNU EHS