As part of the WISE-UP to Climate project FutureWater evaluated the impacts of climate change on investments in sustainable water and land management in the Thika/Chania watershed. The previously built SWAT model for this area was used to assess the impact of land management interventions under six different climate scenarios. Streamflow dynamics, sediment concentration at specific points of interest and total sediment loads in the watershed were assessed to evaluate the sustainability of land and water management, by taking business-as-usual practices as a reference. Next to baseline conditions, the study focused on three future periods: foreseeable future: (2030s), long-term future: (2050s), and far horizon (2080s).

“WISE-UP to Climate” is a project launched by the IUCN Global Water Programme that will demonstrate natural infrastructure as a ‘nature-based solution’ for climate change adaptation and sustainable development. The project’s name stands for ‘Water Infrastructure Solutions from Ecosystem Services Underpinning Climate Resilient Policies and Programmes’.

WISE-UP runs over a four -year period and link ecosystem services more directly into water infrastructure development, starting with work in the Tana (Kenya) and Volta (Ghana-Burkina Faso) river basins.

The project is coordinated by a global partnership that brings together the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in Ghana (CSIR), the University of Nairobi, the University of Manchester, the Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3), and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

IWMI is leading the work in the Tana basin, Kenya, and aims to build on the previous work done in this basin, mainly:

  • Green Water Credits project – Financial mechanism for connecting downstream water users with upstream land and water managers (farmers), impacts on flows and sediments of a set of sustainable land management options.
  • Physiographic Survey of the Upper Tana basin financed by the World Bank and coordinated by the Water Resources Management Authority.
  • Nairobi Water Fund – led by The Nature Conservancy. Focus on 3 priority watersheds upstream of Masinga and implementation of Water Fund focusing on hydropower and Nairobi Water Supply.

Objective

The objective is to evaluate the impacts of climate change on investments in sustainable water and land management in the Upper Tana. More specifically, the analysis should provide insight in how climate change can influence the biophysical effectiveness of different land management options in the Upper Tana, focusing on flows and sediments that influence downstream relying services, mainly hydropower.

Approach

For this study, FutureWater will focus on the Thika/Chania watershed, containing the important Mwagu intake for Nairobi Water Supply. The previously built SWAT model for this area will be used to assess the impact of land management interventions under six different climate scenarios. Streamflow dynamics, sediment concentration at specific points of interest and total sediment loads in the watershed will be assessed to evaluate the sustainability of land and water management, by taking business-as-usual practices as a reference. Next to baseline conditions, the study will focus on three future periods: foreseeable future: (2030s), long-term future: (2050s), and far horizon (2080s).

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