Environmental Response Data for Tanzanian Sand Dams

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By Jessica Abbie Eisma1, Venkatesh Merwade1

Purdue University

This dataset provides environmental data for three sand dams in Tanzania resulting from a year-long field study.

Version 1.0 - published on 24 Apr 2019 doi:10.4231/GYSC-1X41 - cite this Archived on 24 May 2019

Licensed under Attribution 3.0 Unported



Sand dams, a popular water harvesting structure employed by rural communities, capture and store water for use during the dry season in arid and semi-arid regions. This dataset was produced during a year-long, in-depth field study of three sand dams in Tanzania. The study investigated a sand dam’s impact on vegetation, streambank erosion, and the local water table. Vegetation surveys were performed every other month, and erosion was recorded semi-monthly. Water table monitoring wells were installed at each sand dam, and measurements were taken twice a day. The functioning sand dams, Chididimo and Soweto, store a significant amount of water, but most is lost to evapotranspiration shortly after the dry season begins. The functioning sand dams have a positive impact on local vegetation and minimal impact on erosion. Kimokouwa sand dam is essentially non-functioning. Erosion and water table measurements were taken and recorded by trained community volunteers.

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We would like to thank the Kimokouwa, Soweto, and Chididimo community water groups, without whom this research would not have been possible. This work was supported by the NSF grant DGE-1333468 (Graduate Research Fellowships Program) and the USAID grant A1134 to Purdue University. Further support for this work came from a Fulbright U.S. Student Award to Jessica Eisma.

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