Climate Change Vulnerability, Impacts and Assessments Service
The Eastern African region is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Key sectors and drivers of the region’s economy are at high risk of being adversely impacted by recurrent weather and climate extremes. Projected shifts and extremes in rainfall patterns and increasing temperatures will lead to adverse impacts on social, physical, ecological systems.
In recent times Kenya has faced cyclic drought events that have occurred in 1983/1984, 1991/1992, 1995/1996, 1998/2000, 2004/2005, and 2008/2011. Each of these events caused severe crop and livestock losses, famine and population displacement. Climate change introduces an additional uncertainty into existing vulnerabilities, particularly in the ASALs which cover over 80 per cent of the country. Increased temperatures and unpredictable rainy seasons in the northern parts of Kenya, have placed increased pressure on water resources, resulting in less dry season grazing lands, diminished livestock herds, and increased competition over grazing lands. In Northern Turkana County, for example, increased competition over grazing lands and water has heightened the likelihood of conflict and insecurity.
In Tanzania, health, economy, and food security depend on sustainably managed water resources. However, water scarcity challenges are growing along with the impacts of climate change, while reliable access to safe drinking water and sanitation services is still beyond the reach of far too many people. To work towards addressing these interconnected water related challenges, USAID’s Tanzania Water Resources Integration Development Initiative (WARIDI) promotes integrated water resources management and delivery of services across multiple sectors, with the specific goal of improvement of water resources management, improved service access and climate change adaptation in Wami Ruvu and Rufiji basins.
The Mara River Basin (MRB) is a trans boundary landscape shared between Kenya and Tanzania. Water security is a concern for this landscape. It is undeniable that water security is the adaptive capacity to safeguard the sustainable availability of, access to, and safe use of an adequate, reliable, and resilient quantity and quality of water for health, livelihoods, ecosystems, and productive economies. Improving its availability and access, and enhancing biodiversity conservation through an integrated landscape planning is a key development priority in this landscape aimed at improving water security and resilience to water risk as a result of climate change, mitigating resource use conflicts and land degradation.
SERVIR E&SA is working with a range of stakeholders in Tanzania and Kenya to implement this service. Through the coordination of WARIDI, we are working with Basin River Boards in Wami Ruvu and Rufiji basins, the Tanzania Meteorological Agency and the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, and supported by other national agencies such as the National Bureau of Statistics, Local Government Agencies, Regional Secretariats and the University of Dar es Salaam to map community climate change hotspots in the two basins. In Kenya, through the coordination of the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT), we are working with the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD), conservancy coordinators, and county governments to assess livelihoods and ecosystems vulnerabilities to climate variability and change. Additionally, we plan to work with the Sustainable Water Partnership (SWP) together with its implementing and supporting partners to implement the proposed MRB work.
Overall, this service is supported by regional partners; ICPAC and FEWSNET as well as by the University of California- Santa Barbara (UCSB) Climate Hazards Group (CHG) through the SERVIR AST climate services project and occasionally getting technical support from SEDAC; a NASA funded facility hosted by CIESIN, Columbia university, NY.
The overarching goal of this service is to work with service co-implementing partners and decision makers in Tanzania and Kenya to apply and integrate climate exposure and vulnerability information in the development and application of climate change adaptation measures and strategies in the management of water resources and ecosystems and the improvement of livelihoods to reduce water risks, resource use conflicts, ecosystem degradation and loss of livelihoods.