HyCRISTAL: Integrating Hydro-Climate Science Into Policy Decisions For Climate-Resilient Infrastructure and Livelihoods in East Africa

Published: 16th February 2017 14:47Last Updated: 21st February 2017 13:20
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Overview

Availability of water is fundamental for development in East Africa. However, this vital resource is already under stress from land degradation, pollution and overfishing. Climate change adds to these problems, greatly increasing the vulnerability of the poorest people in the region.

Climate projections show a warming trend in East Africa in the decades ahead, but future changes in rainfall and weather extremes are currently uncertain. HyCRISTAL aims to tackle current uncertainties that exist around climate change projections for the region, concentrating in particular on what they mean for the availability and management of water.

HyCRISTAL focuses on tropical East Africa; a region where, close to the equator, there are two rainy seasons per year. The socio-economic focus region of the project is the area of the East African Community states (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda), with the climate science addressing a wider region including Somalia and southern Ethiopia

HyCRISTAL is part of the Future Climate for Africa programme, running from 2015 to 2019

Objectives and Approach

HyCRISTAL will develop new understanding of climate change and its impacts in East Africa, working with the region’s decision-makers to manage water for a more climate-resilient future.

This work involves improving the understanding of key climate-water processes in the region, and working in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders to apply this knowledge in two different settings: rural communities that rely on agriculture and fishing; and urban populations where water supply and sanitation are under pressure.

By developing climate science and helping water users assess their vulnerabilities, the HyCRISTAL project will increase the resilience of communities in East Africa. This will include the production of new, accessible, understandable and easy-to-use tools for water resource management in a changing climate. The methods and tools developed will then be applied to decision-making processes.

Demonstration Cases

The project is developing ‘demonstration cases’ to show how climate information can be used in decision-making in:

  • Kampala (Uganda), Kisumu (Kenya): making critical water and public health infrastructure more climate-resilient.
  • Two Lake Victoria regions, Mukono (Uganda) and Homa Bay (Kenya): Knowledge Exchanges will be piloted to open pathways to research-informed decision-making in the context of rural livelihoods, including fisheries. The pilot locations will capture two different Lake Victoria Basin national governance and policy regimes.
  • Ugandan Water Management Zones: river basin planning, including irrigation.

Beyond these specific locations, the HyCRISTAL project seeks to increase awareness and use of relevant climate information in policy across the East African community and anticipates that its research will be applicable to many other climate-sensitive decisions across a variety of sectors in East Africa.

Members

  • University of Leeds
  • African Centre for Technology Studies
  • British Geological Survey
  • Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (UK)
  • Evidence for Development
  • Jomo Kenyatta University
  • Loughborough University
  • Met Office (UK)
  • National Centre for Atmospheric Science (UK)
  • National Fisheries Resources Research Institute (Uganda)
  • North Carolina State University
  • Practical Action
  • Stony Brook University
  • Tanzanian Meteorological Agency
  • Ugandan National Meteorological Authority
  • Ugandan Ministry of Water Resources
  • University of Connecticut
  • Makerere University
  • Maseno University
  • Walker Institute
  • University of Reading (Africa Climate Exchange)

Funding

HyCRISTAL is one of the five research consortia which form the Future Climate for Africa (FCFA) Programme, jointly funded by the UK Department for International Development and the UK Natural Environment Research Council.

HyCRISTAL is working with the GEWEX HyVicproject  which is supported by the East African Community.