East Africa Environmental Flow Network|
The East Africa Environmental Flows Network is being initiated by the Regional Environmental Flows Group (started by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), WWF, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC)).
The aim is to provide a platform for knowledge sharing and exchange of information on environmental flows/ environmental water allocations in East Africa.
You can join the discussion forum by following the link: http://groups.google.com/group/EAfrica-eflow-network
Flow assessments in East Africa
Pangani River Basin Flow Assessment
The Pangani River Basin Management Project (PRBMP) is generating technical information and developing participatory forums to strengthen Integrated Water Resources Management in the Pangani Basin, including mainstreaming climate change, to support the equitable provision and wise governance of freshwater for livelihoods and environment for current and fu ture generations.
The Project is based on Tanzania’s National Water Policy (2002) and the Water Resource Management Act (2009) which promotes integrated water resource management principles. The policy and legislation recommend that water be managed at the basin level in a participatory and equitable way that emphasizes sustainability and conservation of the water source.
The Project has undertaken an Integrated Flow Assessment with the Pangani Basin Water Office, to develop an understanding of the hydrology of the river basin, the flow-related nature and functioning of the river ecosystem and the links between the ecosystem and the social and economic values of the river’s resources. A series of reports have been produced that have provided information into the flow assessment. These reports can be accessed here.
Building on this information, stakeholders are now gaining understanding of social, economic and environmental trade-offs for different water allocations through the development of a number of scenarios.
Wami River Flow Assessment
This project aimed to provide the Wami-Ruvu Basin Water Office with the information and tools necessary for managing the flow of the Wami River today and in the future. Through a multi-step process, an interdisciplinary team of experts analyzed historical flow records and examined the importance of natural flow variability to the ecology and geomorphology of the Wami River sub-Basin, as well as quantifyied the dependence of riparian human communities on aquatic ecosytems. This information is being used in making management recommendations for minimum, maintenance, and high flows of the Wami River downstream from water withdrawals and diversions. The project began in April 2007 and concluded in February 2008.
More information on the flow assessment including reports can be accessed here.
Great Ruaha River Flow Assessment
A report has been released by WWF in 2010 which describes the process and product of a river and wetland Environmental Flow Assessment (EFA) and options analysis undertaken between 2008-2010 on the Great Ruaha River, (GRR) a major tributary of the Rufiji Basin, in Tanzania, and the associated /Usangu Wetland, respectively. The objectives of the study were to:
i) recommend flow rates, for different seasonal scenarios, required to restore dry season flows to the middle section of the GRR and Usangu wetland in the Ruaha National Park (RNP); and
ii) identify a range of options to support implementation of environmental flows, providing a short-list of preferred options, identified against agreed criteria, in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders at local and national levels in Tanzania.
The report can be downloaded - Assessing Environmental Flows for the Great Ruaha River, and Usangu Wetland, Tanzania
Mara River Flow Assessment
The assessment of the reserve flow for the Mara River which flows from Kenya into Tanzania was launched during an initial workshop in 2006 convened to provide technical guidance on the methodology to a team of specialists recruited to carry out the analytical components of the assessment. Specialists included a geomorphologist, hydrologist,hydraulic engineer, aquatic ecologist, riparian ecologist, water quality specialist, and socio-economist.
The environmental flow assessment for the Mara River applied a structured and scientifically sound process for determining the requirements of the reserve flow and thus is an essential step towards estimating the amount of water available for consumptive use. It is important to note that this is a first assessment of the reserve based on the best available data and expertise of the scientific team. Continued monitoring of the river’s flow levels and ecological status will be critical to determine if the prescribed flow regime is sufficient, if more water needs to be set aside for the reserve, or if more water can be permitted for consumptive use.
The report on the environmenta flow assessment can be downloaded - Assessing Reserve Flows for the Mara River
An additional report has been completed which is a Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan for Sustainable Management (BSAP) of the Mara River Basin (MRB). This report was developed through a consultative process involving key stakeholders at international, regional, national and grassroot levels. The BSAP examines historical and current uses, changes, current status, threats, current actions and required actions for sustainable management of biodiversity in the MRB. It focuses on three critical ecosystems namely: the Mau Forest and Mara riverine forest; the Serengeti-Maasai Mara Ecosystems; and the Aquatic Habitats of the Mara River. The overall goal is to maintain a rich biodiversity that benefits the present and future generation and ecosystem functions. The main objective is to improve rural livelihood by promoting trans-boundary ecosystem management of the selected ecosystems by collecting and disseminating knowledge and using it to manage the resources.
Further infomation can be found on the Lake Victoria Basin Commission website - http://www.lvbcom.org. Also a blog by researchers working on the flow assessment in the Mara provides more insight - http://maraadventure.blogspot.com.