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Climate variability affects water-energy-food infrastructure performance in East Africa

Siderius, Christian, Kolusu, Seshagiri Rao, Todd, Martin C., Bhave, Ajay Gajanan, J. Dougill, Andy, C.J. Reason, Chris, Mkwambisi, David D., Kashaigili, Japhet J., Pardoe, Joanna, Harou, Julien J., Vincent, Katharine, C.G. Hart, Neil, James, Rachel, Washington, Richard, T. Geressu, Robel and Conway, Declan ORCID: 0000-0002-4590-6733 (2021) Climate variability affects water-energy-food infrastructure performance in East Africa. One Earth, 4 (3). 397 - 410.

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.oneear.2021.02.009


The need to assess major infrastructure performance under a changing climate is widely recognized yet rarely practiced, particularly in rapidly growing African economies. Here, we consider high-stakes investments across the water, energy, and food sectors for two major river basins in a climate transition zone in Africa. We integrate detailed interpretation of observed and modeled climate-system behavior with hydrological modeling and decision-relevant performance metrics. For the Rufiji River in Tanzania, projected risks for the mid-21 st century are similar to those of the present day, but for the Lake Malawi-Shire River, future risk exceeds that experienced during the 20 th century. In both basins a repeat of an early-20 th century multi-year drought would challenge the viability of proposed infrastructure. A long view, which emphasizes past and future changes in variability, set within a broader context of climate-information interpretation and decision making, is crucial for screening the risk to infrastructure.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: Grantham Research Institute
Subjects: J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2021 13:48
Last Modified: 23 May 2024 20:03

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