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Sand dams quench the thirst of water-short Kenyans

For the pastoralists of Lemishami in Ol Donyiro ward, which lies 115 kilometres (71 miles) from the town of Isiolo in Kenya's arid eastern region, the sand dam is a lifesaver.

Built across the Raap River, the simple wall catches water and silt that flows down from a nearby mountain range. As sand accumulates at the wall, it traps water and holds it through much of the dry season.

Months after natural ponds and rivers have dried up, the sand dam remains a reliable source of water.

Only a few years ago, villagers could rely on the year-round flow of the Ewaso Ng'iro River. Now, however, with upriver communities using more water for farming, the river has all but disappeared between March and August. The area's rainfall is too sporadic to keep the river topped up.