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Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER) SCIENCE
Cycle 2 (2012 Deadline)

Impact of climate change on freshwater availability for Senegal: modeling future changes in
hydroclimatology of the Lake of Guiers

PI: Mouhamadou Sylla (Laboratoire de Physique de l'Atmosphere et de l'Ocean)
U.S. Partner: Jeremy Pal (Loyola Marymount University)
Project Dates: August 2013 to June 2015

This project aims to study climate change effects on the Lake of Guiers, the main freshwater reservoir for Senegal. The water is mostly used for irrigated cropping in the basin and domestic use in Dakar. It is unknown how its hydroclimatology might evolve in the future, but changes in surface runoff over the basin and in the amount of water in the lake could produce significant disturbances for end-users. The researcher in this project will analyze past and present-day climate and water resources, elaborate climate change projections over the lake basin, and produce future scenarios of water resources for the lake. A series of three workshops will be organized at the end of each task to engage, inform, and exchange information with the end-users
As for development impacts, this project will generate a unique dataset in the field of climate change modeling over Senegal. This dataset can serve as input for more high-impact studies beyond the activities included in the project, for example in the fields of health and ecosystems. Policy makers could also use the datasets generated to develop adaptation and mitigation strategies. Thanks to the project's expected results, Senegal’s government will for the first time possess robust short-term (2021-2050) and long-term (2071-2100) projections of the amounts of freshwater available in the lake and thus potable water for domestic use in Dakar. In addition, production of future estimates of surface runoff in the lake basin is a great asset for agricultural policy makers, as these conditions can either depress or favor irrigated cropping. This study will raise awareness for an improved water resources management and stimulate the elaboration of more appropriate adaptation strategies to secure sustainable irrigated agriculture and potable water distribution in the future.
Summary of Recent Activities
In the first quarter of the project year, four students, including three PhD candidates, were selected to work with the project team. Two climate simulations were completed with RegCM4 downscaling one CMIP5 Earth System Model under two core RCPs scenarios (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5). These simulations encompassed present-day (1975-2004) and far-future (2071-2100) scenarios. A report has been written encompassing the preliminary results of the hydroclimatology changes around the Lake of Guiers. Currently, a student is working as a field intern at the lake is gathering data on precipitation, temperature, and streamflow for analysis. The project team has informed local officials about the project objectives and implementation and found them quite interested in the data. To further expand their efforts, the project team has started collaboration with the Department of Geography at Cheikh Anta Diop University.
In the first half of 2014, the project team hopes to train students on how to run simulations and generate climate change projections in a suitable West African domain. The students will have hands-on training sessions on how to extract climate-change information from model outputs. The researchers will analyze of Lake of Guiers data, and organize and site visits to meet local officials and residents at the lake basin. There will also be an official meeting with couterparts from Cheikh Anta Diop University to talk about how to carry out and formalize the collaboration.
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