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Cycle 5 (2015 Deadline)

A multi-sensor hydrologic modeling framework to assess the impacts of small-scale water storage practices to water resources over Uganda

PI: Jamiat Nanteza (, Makerere University
U.S. Partner: Mathew Rodell, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Project Dates: December 2016 - November 2019

Project Overview:

Water availability and accessibility are concerns that water managers strive to address in the face of climate change, population growth, and food insecurity. Water resources are strained during extreme hydrologic events, and as climate variability and extremes increase (Trenberth, 2012), the uncertainty of freshwater availability poses a threat for emerging economies like Uganda. Anecdotal reports from Uganda indicate that shrinking rivers and diminishing groundwater resources (Lwanga, 2015) have become commonplace, both of which indicate declines in groundwater storage. Water harvesting has the potential to mitigate climate impacts in the short-term (Kahinda et al., 2010); however, potential hydrologic alterations from such small-scale water captures and storage are unknown.

This study seeks to assess the viability of increasing water harvesting efforts in Uganda by examining associated hydrological impacts that result from the capture and storage of water. This study will apply an integrated modelling framework to exploit multivariate remote sensing data from NASA satellite missions combined with ground-based hydrologic observations to examine the spatial and temporal impacts of water harvesting. This project is a pilot study for model development and hypothesis testing. It thus provides a first step towards generation of a decision-support system for evaluating water use and management scenarios in the face of climate change and development. The research team will also address broader national development goals, including aiding decision making for development efforts towards irrigation-based agricultural production, as well as livelihoods. Results of the study should help to inform ongoing government efforts (for example, the Karamoja Action Plan for Food Security) aimed at transitioning the Karamoja dry-land communities from pastoralism to crop farming.

Summary of Recent Events

In this quarter, the CLM model was setup and test runs on the server that was procured and housed at the Directorate of ICT building at Makerere University, were initiated. The test runs couldn't be successfully accomplished because of storage issues. The CLM model and the data associated with it consumes a lot of space on the server and the three terabytes they installed as space are not enough thus the PI needs to buy extra drives to enable smooth running of the model.

During this period, four pressure transducers from a closing project were hired to initiate the process of data collection on water levels. Installation and pretesting exercises of the equipment is ongoing. It is hoped that useful data from these instruments will be obtained in 2019.

The PI presented a paper, "Climate Variability, Aquifer characteristics and Borehole Failures over Crystalline Basement Rocks in Uganda" at the AGU meeting in Washington DC in December 2018. 

In the next coming 3-6 months, much work will be devoted on the hydrologic model experiments using the Community land model. Data organization for the model is undergoing. A workshop on the CLM model is also planned for Makerere University students and researchers. Field work will also be done to monitor on ground situations about water harvesting and to collect hydro meteorological data onsite.

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