World Water Day 2021: water conservation in Timor Leste

Mar 22, 2021


APHEDA partner organisations in Timor Leste are implementing water conservation and agro-ecology  projects to combat the impacts of climate change on the natural environment and farm lands.

Water conservation and agro-ecology projects in Ermera

To combat the effects on rural farmers of extended dry seasons in Timor Leste, UNAER (Agriculture Union of the District of Ermera) is piloting water conservation projects across Ermera’s community farming bases with the support of Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA. Working with local village leaders and traditional owners, UNAER community base members built several conservation dams in late 2020 to capture water during the wet season. UNAER’s objectives of supporting integrated, sustainable agriculture, environmental protection and food sovereignty for one of the poorest districts of Timor Leste, depend on access to water.

In addition, UNAER community bases together with students from UNAER’s youth farming school (IEFS) are continuing to implement new agro-forestry projects to protect from soil degradation and improve land conservation. UNAER’s activities are fully overseen and implemented by the community base members who then train other groups across the district.

Agro-forestry Ermera 2021 UNAER


Combating water salination in Liquica

In other parts of Timor Leste, farmers are combating different water challenges. The farmers union of Liquica (MPRAL) is exploring several ways to combat water salination (as the farming areas are close to the sea). One of the farmers’ training centres in Liquica is trialing different boring activities to access water from deeper in the ground that can be used to irrigate food crops.

Soil erosion and growing good quality food

In the District of Maubisse, APHEDA Partner KSI is also looking at new water conservation methods after a particularly long dry season in 2020 which left large parts of Timor Leste too dry to provide water to animals or grow good quality food.

In Bobonaro, soil erosion due to the extended 2020 dry season is having a significant impact on the production of shallots and horticulture crops. IEP is bringing together farmers from across the district to consider new solutions for irrigation to keep their crops and precious community incomes viable. .

Building social movements of farmers to protect food sovereignty

All three of APHEDA’s farmer organising partner organisations, Kdadalak Silumutuk Institute (KSI), Institutu Edukasaun Popular (IEP) and UNAER farmer bases are actively implementing an agro-ecology campaign across five districts including tree planting and reforestation for environmental and soil protection, creation and use of organic fertilizer and pesticides for crops and building social movements of farmers engaged in protecting water and land access needed for food sovereignty.


Become a Global Justice Partner today and contribute to Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA’s work in Timor Leste and our other projects. Yes, sign me up!


australian-aid-blue-and-red UNAER’s ‘Empower UNAER’s Farmers Towards Sustainable Farming in Timor Leste’ is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).


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