BONN, GERMANY (19 December 2017) – In contrast to recent years, which have seen declining rainfall, researchers report that, as a result of climate change, rainfall in Kenya’s Tana River Basin will likely increase over the rest of the 21st century. Although the exact magnitude of the increase remains uncertain, a change of up to 43% in mean annual rainfall is possible. These findings are presented in a new study released today at the Global Landscape Forum (GLF) by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). The good news is tempered with bad, however, as the study indicates that extreme climate events, especially flooding, will also increase.
“The large increase in the amount of water available in the basin will translate into more opportunities for deriving benefits from dams and other built infrastructure – meaning potentially more hydropower, water supplies and irrigation,” said Matthew McCartney, leader of IWMI’s Water Futures Research Group.
“The downside is that more water also means more risks,” added James Dalton, coordinator of global water initiatives with the Global Water Programme of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). “Bigger and more frequent floods resulting from increased rainfall variability could undermine new development opportunities.”
Factoring in climate change and the water resources outlook into the national growth agenda should be key. Risks are always there with floods, but mitigation against drought could be even tougher.
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