Towards a Sustainable Future

A critical challenge will be to adapt water management to climate change impacts while finding ways of equitably and efficiently balancing competing water demands. In the Tana river basin, long-term climate resilient and sustainable solutions satisfying all water users and water developers will need to be implemented in order to avert conflict, livelihood losses, ecosystem degradation and economic hardship. Results from WISE-UP provide policymakers, water users and scientists with evidence of solutions to integrate built infrastructure into the basin’s natural ecosystem that is critical for national development.

WISE UP Map for Tana River Basin in Kenya

Key issues in the Basin

The Tana River Basin has a unique set of conditions within which WISE-UP operates, and this has highlighted a number of considerations. Below are the key points that we need to understand in order to address cross-cutting issues such as poverty reduction and climate change adaptation.

  • Competing Water Demands - there is strong competition for water resources among many different actors: irrigation, fishing, horticulture, rice production, hydropower, domestic water use, drinking water supply for major towns.
  • Extreme Weather Fluctuations - climate change is expected in the long-term to increase rainfall in the basin, but with increased extremes including drought. Floods and droughts have displaced populations within the basin; the East African region is likely to have an increase in mean annual precipitation during the rainy season alongside frequent and extreme droughts during the dry season (IPCC, 2007).
  • Downstream Impact - impacts of dam construction upstream (providing 60% of Kenya’s electricity) on the downstream ecosystem and populations. There is an urgent need to maintain instream flows and the natural flooding regime of the Tana to support dry season grazing, fisheries, floodplain agriculture and the various water-dependent natural ecosystems (such as forests, wetlands and mangroves) vital to local livelihoods.

More information on the Tana River Basin

Baseline Review and Ecosystem Services Assessment of the Tana River Basin, Kenya (IWMI Working Paper)

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