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Intensifying Agricultural Water Management in the Tropics: A cause of water shortage or a source of resilience?
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Frequent climatic shocks have presented challenges for rainfed agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa. Appropriate water management practices are among the solutions to the challenges. The role of water harvesting in achieving sustainable agricultural intensification and specified resilience was explored. Suitable areas for water harvesting in the Upper Blue Nile basin were identified. The usefulness of the Curve Number method for surface runoff estimation was evaluated, and was found to perform satisfactorily. The impact of climate change in the Lake Tana sub-basin was studied. A decision support system was developed for locating and sizing of water harvesting ponds in the SWAT model. Methodological developments enabled analysis of the implications of water harvesting intensification in a meso-scale watershed in the Lake Tana sub-basin.

Results suggest that water harvesting can increase agricultural productivity, sustain ecosystems and build specified resilience, and thereby contribute to sustainable agricultural intensification. There is considerable potential for water harvesting in the Upper Blue Nile Basin. Rainfall may increase in the Lake Tana sub-basin due to climate change. Supplementary irrigation from water harvesting ponds and better nutrient application increased staple crop production by up to three-fold. Moreover, a substantial amount of cash crop was produced using dry seasonal irrigation. Water harvesting altered the streamflow regime, and reduced sediment loss from the watershed.      

Water harvesting can play an important role in food security. It showed potential to buffer climatic variability. In the watershed studied, water harvesting will not compromise the environmental water requirements. Instead, increased low flows, and reduced flooding and sediment loss may benefit the social-ecological systems. The adverse effects of disturbance of the natural flow variability and sediment influx to certain riverine ecosystems warrant detailed investigation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University , 2014. , 67 p.
Keyword [en]
Water harvesting, Climate change, Climate variability, Multi criteria evaluation, SWAT, CN, sub-Saharan Africa, Upper Blue Nile, Lake Tana basin
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
Research subject
Natural Resources Management
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-102878ISBN: 978-91-7447-914-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-102878DiVA: diva2:713736
Public defence
2014-06-04, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Water resources management and social-ecological resilience
Funder
Formas
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript. Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 5: Epub ahead of print. Paper 6: Manuscript.

Available from: 2014-05-13 Created: 2014-04-24 Last updated: 2014-09-30Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. The role of water harvesting to achieve sustainable agricultural intensification and resilience against water related shocks in sub-Saharan Africa
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The role of water harvesting to achieve sustainable agricultural intensification and resilience against water related shocks in sub-Saharan Africa
2013 (English)In: Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, ISSN 0167-8809, E-ISSN 1873-2305, Vol. 181, 69-79 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Poverty alleviation in rural areas is a top priority for social and economic development, particularly against a backdrop of rising populations up to 2050 and to meet growing food demands in a rapidly urbanizing world. Sustainable intensification of agricultural techniques are therefore required, such as water management practices that result in higher agricultural production without causing severe environmental impacts, whilst at the same time improving resilience to drought and dry spells. Water harvesting practices have shown promising results in reducing risks, and improving yields whilst also delivering positive impacts on other ecosystems. However, before large scale implementation of water harvesting, further investigation of local downstream impacts are warranted. We conclude that water harvesting remains a promising option for sustainable agricultural intensification in the water scarce tropics, resulting in both risk reduction and yield improvements.

Keyword
Sub-Saharan Africa, Agriculture, Sustainable intensification, Water harvesting, Resilience
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-100665 (URN)10.1016/j.agee.2013.09.014 (DOI)000329553200008 ()
Funder
Formas
Note

AuthorCount:4;

Available from: 2014-02-12 Created: 2014-02-10 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
2. Suitability of Water Harvesting in the Upper Blue Nile Basin, Ethiopia: A First Step towards a Meso-scale Hydrological Modeling Framework
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Suitability of Water Harvesting in the Upper Blue Nile Basin, Ethiopia: A First Step towards a Meso-scale Hydrological Modeling Framework
2014 (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Publisher
24 p.
National Category
Environmental Management
Research subject
Natural Resources Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-102874 (URN)
Available from: 2014-04-24 Created: 2014-04-24 Last updated: 2014-09-30
3. Investigation of the curve number method for surface runoff estimation in tropical regions: a case study in the Upper Blue Nile Basin, Ethiopia
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Investigation of the curve number method for surface runoff estimation in tropical regions: a case study in the Upper Blue Nile Basin, Ethiopia
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Keyword
Curve number, SWAT, antecedent rainfall, rainfall intensity, Upper Blue Nile
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-102875 (URN)
Projects
Water resources management and social-ecological resilience
Funder
Formas
Available from: 2014-04-24 Created: 2014-04-24 Last updated: 2014-09-30
4. Hydrological Response to Climate Change for Gilgel Abay River, in the Lake Tana Basin - Upper Blue Nile Basin of Ethiopia
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Hydrological Response to Climate Change for Gilgel Abay River, in the Lake Tana Basin - Upper Blue Nile Basin of Ethiopia
2013 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 8, no 10, e79296- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Climate change is likely to have severe effects on water availability in Ethiopia. The aim of the present study was to assess the impact of climate change on the Gilgel Abay River, Upper Blue Nile Basin. The Statistical Downscaling Tool (SDSM) was used to downscale the HadCM3 (Hadley centre Climate Model 3) Global Circulation Model (GCM) scenario data into finer scale resolution. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) was set up, calibrated, and validated. SDSM downscaled climate outputs were used as an input to the SWAT model. The climate projection analysis was done by dividing the period 2010-2100 into three time windows with each 30 years of data. The period 1990-2001 was taken as the baseline period against which comparison was made. Results showed that annual mean precipitation may decrease in the first 30-year period but increase in the following two 30-year periods. The decrease in mean monthly precipitation may be as much as about -30% during 2010-2040 but the increase may be more than +30% in 2070-2100. The impact of climate change may cause a decrease in mean monthly flow volume between -40% to -50% during 2010-2040 but may increase by more than the double during 2070-2100. Climate change appears to have negligible effect on low flow conditions of the river. Seasonal mean flow volume, however, may increase by more than the double and +30% to +40% for the Belg (small rainy season) and Kiremit (main rainy season) periods, respectively. Overall, it appears that climate change will result in an annual increase in flow volume for the Gilgel Abay River. The increase in flow is likely to have considerable importance for local small scale irrigation activities. Moreover, it will help harnessing a significant amount of water for ongoing dam projects in the Gilgel Abay River Basin.

National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-96883 (URN)10.1371/journal.pone.0079296 (DOI)000326152300091 ()
Funder
Formas
Note

AuthorCount:3;

Available from: 2013-11-28 Created: 2013-11-28 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
5. Evaluation of CFSR climate data for hydrologic prediction in data-scarce watersheds: an application in the Blue Nile River Basin
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Evaluation of CFSR climate data for hydrologic prediction in data-scarce watersheds: an application in the Blue Nile River Basin
2014 (English)In: Journal of the American Water Resources Association, ISSN 1093-474X, E-ISSN 1752-1688, Vol. 50, no 5, 1226-1241 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Data scarcity has been a huge problem in modeling the water resources of the Upper Blue Nile basin, Ethiopia. Satellite data and different statistical methods have been used to improve the quality of conventional meteorological data. This study assesses the applicability of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction's Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR) climate data in modeling the hydrology of the region. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool was set up to compare the performance of CFSR weather with that of conventional weather in simulating observed streamflow at four river gauging stations in the Lake Tana basin — the upper part of the Upper Blue Nile basin. The conventional weather simulation performed satisfactorily (e.g., NSE ≥ 0.5) for three gauging stations, while the CFSR weather simulation performed satisfactorily for two. The simulations with CFSR and conventional weather yielded minor differences in the water balance components in all but one watershed, where the CFSR weather simulation gave much higher average annual rainfall, resulting in higher water balance components. Both weather simulations gave similar annual crop yields in the four administrative zones. Overall the simulation with the conventional weather performed better than the CFSR weather. However, in data-scarce regions such as remote parts of the Upper Blue Nile basin, CFSR weather could be a valuable option for hydrological predictions where conventional gauges are not available.

Keyword
hydrologic cycle, time series analysis, meteorology, CFSR, SWAT, Ethiopia, Upper Blue Nile
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
Research subject
Natural Resources Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-102872 (URN)10.1111/jawr.12182 (DOI)000342890600010 ()
Projects
Water resources management and social-ecological resilience
Funder
Formas
Available from: 2014-04-24 Created: 2014-04-24 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
6. Assessing the Implications of Water Harvesting Intensification on Upstream-downstream Social-ecological systems: a Case Study in the Lake Tana Basin
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Assessing the Implications of Water Harvesting Intensification on Upstream-downstream Social-ecological systems: a Case Study in the Lake Tana Basin
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-102877 (URN)
Funder
Formas
Available from: 2014-04-24 Created: 2014-04-24 Last updated: 2014-09-16

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