GCCA+ Djibouti : Responding to climate change in the energy and water sectors

At a glance

2019-06-01 to 2024-02-01
Active programmes
Total budget
9,00 M€

The Republic of Djibouti is located in the Horn of Africa region, at the intersection of the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. With its dry climate and low level of social development, the Republic of Djibouti is vulnerable to a number of climate-related impacts including extreme drought, extreme temperatures, rising sea levels, flash floods and salinization of water and soil. These phenomena have already been observed in the country and are expected to increase in frequency and intensity in the future according to climate scenarios. Thus, the arable land, natural resources and especially water resources are very low and subject to high pressures from climate change. The Republic of Djibouti is one of the poorest countries in the world and the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change with direct consequences on its water resources and food security.

The whole country is affected by the low availability of water resources and particularly the capital Djibouti. High population growth supports the increase in water demand which contributes to saline intrusion into the aquifer. The available quantity is low and its quality is deteriorating. This phenomenon is exacerbated by the low rainfall, which has been below 50% of the usual level since 2005 (2006 Weather Report). Periods of drought are stronger and water supply is more difficult, which contribute to the accentuation of the desertification phenomenon. Available water is expensive and the quantities that can be mobilized for irrigation are extremely limited. Climate change also favors the annual loss of arable land estimated at 4-5% in the main agricultural regions of the country. The combination of these factors has a direct impact on agricultural production which reduces the country's food security.

GCCA's action programme
Geographical scope
Initial GCCA/GCCA+ contribution
6,500,000.00 €

Specific objective

The specific objective is to extend and secure the treated wastewater reuse chain implemented at Douda under the GCCA program. One of the direct consequences of a controlled reuse chain is to limit discharges and ultimately to move towards zero discharge of treated wastewater.


The expected products are :

  • P1:The treatment capacity of the Douda wastewater treatment plant is increased to meet future connections with a target, if the financing enables a treatment capacity of 80 000 p.e. to be reached.
  • P2: The irrigated perimeter is reinforced both on technical and organizational aspects.
  • P3: Establishment of a wetland, a biodiversity hotspot at the outlet of the station, which can benefit the Douda Nature Reserve.
  • P4: A strategy and a monitoring system for the entire treated wastewater reuse chain is set up.
  • P5: A remarkable and unique water reuse demonstrator (station + perimeter) in the East African region is operational and sustainable.


Five components have been identified and are broken down into specific actions:

Component 1: Extension and securing the TREATMENT - DISTRIBUTION chain of treated wastewater

The reuse of wastewater can only be sustainable if water production is secured. Otherwise, uncertainty about the availability of the resource and the vagaries of treatment can destabilize downstream uses or even make them impossible.

  • Extension of the Douda wastewater treatment plant: the demographic growth and strong urbanization of the city of Djibouti make the extension of the plant necessary. This extension makes it possible to collect additional volumes produced and thus directly benefit the populations, who have better sanitary conditions and reduce the risks of water-related diseases linked to unsafe water for the populations and in particular women and children. The additional volumes treated contribute to the activity of the irrigated perimeter by guaranteeing increased production. A new source of water is produced, reducing the pressure on the availability of the resource and the resulting effects of salinization. The extension is planned within 3 years, with the objective of doubling the capacity of the WWTP (target of 80,000 p.e.) as initially considered, but with the risk of additional financing needs.
    Routing of the drinking water network in Douda: the objective is to secure the drinking water supply to make the area more self-sufficient in terms of supply by extending the drinking water pipe that will supply the plant. Thus, in the event of a treatment contingency, the irrigated perimeter will benefit from the water required for its proper operation.

Component 2: Extension and Security-USAGER Douda irrigated perimeter

  • The objective is to reinforce the irrigated perimeter both on the technical and organizational aspects in order to ensure its sustainability.
  • Reinforcement of agricultural and irrigation equipment: extension of the surface area in drip irrigation (8 ha not yet equipped) and purchase of tillage equipment, seedlings and phytosanitary products.
  • Extension of technical assistance for the irrigated perimeter to support it and enable it to reach its optimum. Its effectiveness has been demonstrated for 2 years, it should contribute to accompany farmers on the following points: professionalization, technical aspects, marketing of agricultural products and communication. More precisely, it is necessary to elaborate the management rules of the cooperative by professionalizing and reinforcing the capacities of the actors in the management of the cooperative, especially the elected members of the cooperative. On the technical aspects a particular point is the improvement of the agricultural development as well as the maintenance and upkeep of the hydraulic system. The assistance must also insist on the marketing of the products of the cooperative which is not currently carried out in a grouped way. The whole must strengthen the capacities of the stakeholders through training programs (maintenance of the hydraulic system, phytosanitary maintenance, rights and obligations of the beneficiaries of the cooperative, distribution of roles, methodology and marketing of products, etc.). Finally, technical assistance must accompany the cooperative in awareness-raising and communication actions with the population of Douda.

Component 3: Securing discharges in a vegetated wetland (RND)

  • Installation of a wetland at the outlet of the station so that this vegetated zone receive the volumes not valorized on the irrigated perimeter. In order to ensure its smooth operation, technical assistance is to be set up for the Ministry of Housing, Urban Planning and the Environment (MHUE). The objective is to define the need for RND in terms of water quantity and quality, to identify the use of this water (impact on biodiversity) and to precisely identify the area where the discharge wetland is to be set up to reconcile the constraints of the wastewater treatment plant and the capacity of the natural area to absorb this water

Component 4: Structuring/organization/monitoring of water reuse channels

  • Evaluation and elaboration of the water reuse strategy: definition of scenarios, breakdowns between uses, monitoring of treated wastewater (TWW). A technical assistance on TWW reuse is to be set up to support ONEAD and enable it to evaluate and build the frameworks of its circular water saving strategy. The first step is to identify all present and future uses of TWW and to build multi-use scenarios for water distribution. These proposals should ensure an efficient use of TWW, by involving farmers through improved practices and irrigation management. These scenarios are evaluated from an economic and environmental point of view. Economic, legal and governance frameworks for the TWW reuse chain will be proposed. During its intervention, the TA collaborates with the Ministry of Agriculture (ONEAD, Directorate of Agriculture), the beneficiaries (Agricultural Cooperative and other users), the Ministry of Environment, the customary chiefs/sub-prefects of the Douda region, during the elaboration of the water reuse strategy.

  • Monitoring the performance and impacts of TME reuse systems: provision of the necessary analytical equipment (consumables, microscopes, etc.) and technical assistance for training and the establishment of procedures. The objective is to monitor the efficiency of TME reuse systems, the risks and benefits, to set up warning systems and to be able to elaborate optimization recommendations. Preventive actions in terms of hygiene are to be planned to meet the challenge of health protection for irrigators and to reassure the managers of the irrigated perimeter. It is also necessary to make the actors of the sector autonomous (station operators, farmers, etc.) to ensure the sustainability of this project. Thus, training (use of water with a high salt content, establishment of water towers) must be integrated.

Component 5: Audit, evaluation and communication

  • Audits and evaluations are necessary to monitor the smooth running of the project and verify the proper allocation of funds.
  • Communication: The results obtained so far are remarkable and this system, which is sustainable over time, will undoubtedly be a source of inspiration at the international and of course national level, which will lead to other projects for the reuse of TMEs in Djibouti. To make this site recognized as a demonstrator, it is necessary to make a significant communication to share this experience and disseminate it.