Upon a request by the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC), the Climate Technology Centre and Network is assisting Uganda on adaptation to climate change through improved information and planning tools for Lake Victoria.
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. 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 and key economic sectors.
The technical assistance has been implemented together with UNEP-DHI Partnership through three main activities: stakeholder outreach; data access, model refinement, and development of guidelines for decision support; dissemination and outreach.
The CTCN technical assistance will result in the refinement of a hydrological water allocation model and implementation of a free basin planning online application for the Lake Victoria basin, to serve as a valuable tool with the ability to simulate impacts of climate scenarios on existing and/or planned interventions, as well as the impact of these interventions on the water resources of the basin and the populations.
In February 2018 a web portal was launched making the data, information, tools and guidelines produced freely accessible online to all national stakeholders.
Improved technologies for making climate resilient decisions are critical for the sustainability of water resources and energy production in the Lake Victoria basin. The Owen Falls and Bujagali Falls hydropower plants have installed capacities of 380 megawatts (MW) and 250 MW. Lake level decline would jeopardize infrastructure and further hamper the extension of electricity coverage in Uganda, which amounts to 5% of the population. Furthermore, the fishery resources from the Lake are, directly or indirectly, a source of livelihood to 3 million people. Impacts to fisheries such as decline in fish stock could lead to the loss of USD 500 million worth of this industry. In addition, water quality of the lake is dependent on lake level fluctuation and direct costs attributable to the water hyacinth infestation have been estimated to be USD 4.5 million cost for Uganda. Indirectly and at a large time scale, should the assistance succeed to foster larger projects informed by seasonal and climate projections and planning tools made available, this will impact the 7.5 million inhabitants of the Ugandan Lake Victoria basin area notably in the water and energy sectors.