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Agricultural water storage in an era of climate change: assessing need and effectiveness in Africa

This report, produced by the International Water Management Institute of Sri Lanka, describes different agricultural water storage options and some of the possible implications of climate change. It also describes the development of a simple diagnostic tool, based on a set of biophysical and demographic indicators, which can be used to provide a rapid (first-cut) evaluation of the need and effectiveness of different water storage options, under existing and possible future climate conditions.

Throughout sub-Saharan Africa, the greatest need for storage was found to be in the Sahelian zone, the Horn of Africa and southern Africa, with more localized hot spots in southern Angola, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda, as well as Malawi and Mozambique. In Ethiopia and Ghana, the greatest need was found not to be in areas with the least rainfall (as might have been anticipated), but rather in the areas with the highest population density. Based on changes anticipated by the realization of one downscaled ‘middle impact’ climate change scenario, the effectiveness of storage will decrease in both the Volta and Blue Nile basins in the future.