Managing wetlands to solve the water crisis in the Katuma River ecosystem, Tanzania

Elisa, Manase, Kihwele, Emilian, Wolanski, Eric, and Birkett, Charon (2021) Managing wetlands to solve the water crisis in the Katuma River ecosystem, Tanzania. Ecohydrology and Hydrobiology, 21 (2). pp. 211-222.

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Abstract

The formerly perennial Katuma River in western Tanzania starts in a protected forest, it then flows through irrigated rice farms before reaching Lake Katavi, a floodplain wetland whose outflow regulates the river flow through the Katavi National Park (KNP) down to its outlet at Lake Rukwa, which has no outlet. In recent years, due to overexploitation of water for irrigation, the Katuma River dried out for up to four months per year and this greatly degraded the KNP ecosystem, the siltation of river lead to flooding of the adjacent areas during heavy rains, and the water level of Lake Rukwa has decreased by 4 m since 1992 while its fishery yield and water quality also deteriorated. In 2016, a total of 46 illegal weirs were removed from the Katuma River upstream of KNP. Following that, the river zero-flow periods were reduced by two months and Lake Rukwa water level rose by 1 m. We suggest that the construction of a low V-notch weir at the outlet of the Lake Katavi wetlands would further reduce the Katuma River zero-flow periods by an additional month, thus returning the river nearly to its former perennial status. The enforcement of regulations governing the construction of irrigation weirs is essential. These ecohydrology solutions do not eliminate the threats, but they amplify the opportunities for sustainable development at the basin scale. This example of active governance of water resources at the basin scale can be applied throughout Tanzania and in semi-arid East Africa in general.

Item ID: 67058
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2080-3397
Keywords: rating curve, river gauging, Satellite altimetry, sustainability, water budget
Copyright Information: ©2021 European Regional Centre for Ecohydrology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2022 23:35
FoR Codes: 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3707 Hydrology > 370799 Hydrology not elsewhere classified @ 50%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410406 Natural resource management @ 50%
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