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  • on 27.08.2013
  • at 01:00 PM
  • by Kevin Hind

West Africa ‘must take action to tackle water loss’ 0

Accra – Food production and power generation in the Volta River basin, which is home to 24 million people across six West African countries, will be reduced by climate change related rising temperatures, a study reveals.

The study’s climate model shows temperatures in the Volta Basin rising by up to 3.6 degrees Celsius over the next century, leading to greater evaporation and a resulting 20 per cent water loss.

The study was presented last month at the 6th Africa Agriculture Science Week (15-20 July) in Accra, Ghana.

Agriculture in the Volta basin — which covers Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali and Togo — accounts for 40 per cent of the region’s economic activity. The basin covers 402,000 square kilometres.

The research was carried out by a collaboration of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, CGIAR’s Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), and Ghana’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

The team of researchers — comprising agronomists, climatologists and social scientists — say that water flow in the Volta region could fall by 24 per cent by 2050 and by 45 per cent by 2100. This would deprive the basin of water that countries depend on for driving hydroelectric turbines and farming.

The scientists based their predictions on rainfall and temperature data covering 2009 to 2012.

“By 2050 it is expected that water loss will significantly influence agricultural and energy production from the river,” Robert Zougmoré, regional programme leader for CCAFS West Africa, tells SciDev.Net.

Responses to the problem could include the provision of underground water to farmers, he adds.

Continue reading on Sci Dev Net

By Samuel HinnehSciDev Net 

Photo credit: flickr.com/ilri

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