Watershed management involves a lot of work — digging trenches, building giant rock walls, installing check-dams, planting bushes and trees, fencing off fragile areas… “It’s no joke,” Gerry admits, “so it has to be worth their while.”
The proof, they say, is in the pudding, and 10 slow, arduous, miles away lies another village,in the lee of another steep hill. “The watershed project saved our lives,” Hayatullah says,looking upwards, “it is wealth for us.” A leader is his community, he explains how homes andlivelihoods were constantly threatened by flash flooding and landslides. “Over 70 families were in danger, and many had to abandon their homes.”
With advice and resources provided by Concern engineers, local people built a series of gabion walls (box or cylinder structures for a wall which can then be filled with rocks and stones, or even sand or dirt) to divert much of the floodwater and set about rehabilitating the hillsides — using both new methods and their own local solutions. 2,500 almond, peach, and silver birch trees were planted in trenches, and the grass was allowed to grow un-grazed. “We even hired a guard to protect the area,” according to Hayaullah. Today, the valley floor has transformed, as families return and build houses and gardens on land that was once ravaged by landslides.