Coffee farm restoration and infiltration ditches to prevent flooding in El Salvador

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Restoration of forest and coffee plantations, and creation of infiltration ditches, will reduce flooding risk for San Salvador.

Climate change is increasing the intensity of storms in El Salvador, causing erosion, landslides and flooding. The capital city, San Salvador, suffers especially badly from flooding due to the dominance of impervious surfaces and hence low capacity for infiltration. To address this, 1150ha of forest and coffee plantations will be restored over the next two years, including the areas destroyed by Storm Amanda in June 2020. The restoration will, critically, include the creation of 62km of infiltration ditches, to enhance drainage during heavy rains. Such ditches mimic the natural drainage services provided by streams and rivers, and combined with the water holding capacity of trees, are expected to reduce flood risk for 115,000 people by 2022. The restoration project also aims to provide direct benefits for local people by planting fruit trees for an extra source of food or income.

Similar projects are also occurring in Xalapa, Mexico, and Kingston, Jamaica.

Read the UNEP article here.