EGU24-11369, updated on 09 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Expert-based global database of sand dams dimensions and distribution across drylands

Jessica Eisma1, Luigi Piemontese2, Giulio Castelli2,3,4, Ruth Quinn5, Bongani Mpofu6, Doug Graber Neufeld7, Cate Ryan8, Hannah Ritchie9, Lorenzo Villani2,10, and Elena Bresci2
Jessica Eisma et al.
  • 1Department of Civil Engineering, University of Texas at Arlington, Texas, USA
  • 2Department of Agriculture, Food, Environment and Forestry (DAGRI), University of Florence, Florence, Italy
  • 3UNESCO Chair in Hydropolitics, University of Geneva, Switzerland
  • 4Institute for Environmental Sciences (ISE), University of Geneva, Switzerland
  • 5Department of Civil Engineering and Construction Studies, Atlantic Technological University Sligo, Sligo, Ireland
  • 6Dabane Water Workshops, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
  • 7Department of Biology, Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA
  • 8Department of Environmental Science, Auckland University of Technology, Aotearoa, New Zealand
  • 9School of Water, Energy and Environment, Cranfield University, UK
  • 10Department of Water and Climate (HYDR), Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Belgium

Sand dams are water harvesting structures built across ephemeral sandy rivers to increase water supply in drylands. Despite their effectiveness in reducing water scarcity for local communities and their recent traction in research and development, information on their distribution and characteristics are sporadic and largely unreported. This gap represents a major barrier for understanding the large-scale potential of such a Nature-based Solution for drylands and planning for new infrastructure. This paper presents a global database of sand dam locations and dimensions developed within a collaboration between research and development experts on the topic. We collected sand dam information on location from several sources, ranging from research reports to databases provided by practitioners. We then reviewed and enriched them based on visual inspection from Google Earth images. The georeferenced information provided by the database can support research development on the effectiveness of sand dams and support practitioners with science-based criteria for sand dam development across global drylands.

How to cite: Eisma, J., Piemontese, L., Castelli, G., Quinn, R., Mpofu, B., Graber Neufeld, D., Ryan, C., Ritchie, H., Villani, L., and Bresci, E.: Expert-based global database of sand dams dimensions and distribution across drylands, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-11369,, 2024.