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Adaptation to climate change through improved information and planning tools for Lake Victoria

The CTCN technical assistance will strengthen adaptation to climate change through improved information and planning tools in the part of the Lake Victoria basin located in Uganda. The objective of this technical assistance is to facilitate technology transfer for climate change adaptation, with a focus on seasonal and long-term planning within the water resource and energy sectors. The proposed support will build on existing technologies and new developments will be demonstrated using applications in the region. The support will improve local capacity to access climate change information, estimate impacts, and use climate change impact estimates to support decision making.

The hydrology of Lake Victoria is, to a large extent, a function of the balance between rainfall and evaporation on the lake surface, and historical climate variability has resulted in fluctuations in the volume of water in Lake Victoria (UNEP 2013). Climate models predict changes to the balance between precipitation and evaporation on medium (10 to 30 years) and longer (> 50 years) time scales, with potentially serious impacts on the lake’s water balance. These impacts have implications for the approximately 30 million people living in its basin, as well as further downstream in the Nile River basin (UNEP 2013). Hydropower, fisheries and transport are some of the sectors that are impacted by changes to the water balance, particularly when these changes result in decreased lake levels and associated declines in hydropower generating capacity (for example, Hepworth, 2008). Improved technologies for making climate resilient decisions and embedding state-of-the-art climate information into the decision workflow are critical for the sustainability of water resources and energy production in the Lake Victoria basin.

This proposed technical assistance will be implemented through delivery of technology and training to the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC), including activities in the following areas:

Climate model projections and seasonal forecast data: The CTCN assistance will enable local stakeholders to use state-of-the-art regional climate model projections for estimating climate change impacts at medium and longer time scales. In addition, the assistance will enable access to results from seasonal forecasts useful for estimating short term climate variability. Climate projections will be added to data managed by the existing Water Resource Information System (WRIS) used by LVBC. The assistance will also add seasonal forecast data to the WRIS, as well as procedures for maintaining up-to-date forecasts. Historical data for bias correction and statistical processing will be will be added to WRIS where appropriate.

Impact assessment: Decision makers can use impact models to estimate the impacts of climate change and other drivers (such as population growth) on the performance of water resources management and infrastructure plans. The technical assistance will make refinements to the existing water resource model hosted by LVBC in order to enhance its utility for impact assessments in the water resource and energy sectors.

Planning: Decision-making under uncertainty about climate change and other drivers benefits from an approach that characterizes system performance across a range of conditions that may be expected in the future. In such an approach, a key challenge is to characterize uncertainty and integrate it into the planning process. The CTCN assistance will develop guidelines on planning methods that incorporate the climate and other drivers into impact modelling, so that the performance of planning alternatives can be evaluated across a range of uncertain future conditions. The guidelines will also include recommendations for using this information in a decision-making process.

Dissemination and outreach: Dissemination and outreach activities will be carried out to ensure that local partners are able to make use of the technical assistance. These activities will be targeted at national organisations through workshops and technical sessions as well as regional organisations through the existing network of LVBC (the applicant).

Technical outputs will be tested using applications in Uganda. The expected outputs are aligned with existing strategic goals, including the Technology Needs Assessment report (TNA), Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions and the Strategic Action Plan for the Lake Victoria Basin (SAP).

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Response project