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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
 
2-344 Community Site Visit
The project team visits local farming communities near the Lake of Guiers (Photo: Dr. Sylla).
During the last three months, the project team focused on meeting authorities, scientists, and users of the Lake of Guiers basin. On December 24, the team met the representative of DGPRE (Direction de la Gestion et de la Planification des Resources en Eau), the department that manages water resources in Senegal. They shared relevant information with the team as well as the challenges they have in quantifying the water volume. It is easy to know the amount of water drawn from the Lake by companies such as SDE (Senegalaise Des Eaux) to produce drinking water, but very difficult to identify the amount drawn by diverse irrigated activities in the basin that pump water directly from the Lake. The team also visited the Senegalese Consumers Association and discussed the difficulties that households in Dakar face in accessing drinking water. Most of the neighborhoods in Dakar find the service provided by SDE to be subpar.

A workshop was organized on December 18 and 19 at the Polytechnic School and gathered scientists from different institutes, university departments and services interested in the different aspects of the Lake of Guiers. The workshop objectives were to gather information concerning the Lake of Guiers from all interested parties, to share the project methodology, and discuss the way forward. An important recommendation from the workshop was a field trip to OLAG (Office of the Lake of Guiers) at the end of December to identify the amount of water drawn from the Lake by farmers and discuss the ramifications of climate change on water use with local communities. Two communities were chosen: one (Diokhor) located upstream from a recently established dam and another one (Diaminare Loyene) below this dam. An interesting finding from these community meetings was the fact that when the Lake water level decreases, fishery is more fruitful. This prompts the communities to shift from cropping to fishery activities depending on water levels. On the last day, the team visited the OLAG representatives in Saint Louis to obtain the hydrological budget of the lake and created model simulations based on the data gathered.
 
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