SASSCAL – Water-related vulnerabilities and risk in Southern Africa
The project team is analysing to what extent water-related vulnerabilities and risks for the population and ecosystems are developing within the context of global change and how these might conceivably be reduced.
Many natural and social processes mutually influence water resources in the southern part of Africa. Climate change and changes in land use, as well as population and economic growth act as localised forms of global change on the current and future state of the resource and as such influence people’s living conditions.
The project team is developing a vulnerability and risk analysis for the catchment area of the Cuvelai-Basin in northern Namibia and southern Angola. First the ‘status quo’ and expected trends in patterns of water demand are being studied, differentiated according to spatial and social characteristics and with the help of social-empirical surveys, consultations with experts and mapping. Using this as a starting point, researchers calculate water demand and availability in order to discover the water supply’s vulnerabilities and risks for the population and ecosystems. The aim is to identify areas of relevance for decision-makers which are particularly threatened by supply gaps and their consequences (hot spot areas).
Next the researchers will be developing supportive measures for an adapted and integrated management of water resources. In order to do this, they visualise information with the help of user-friendly maps and make recommendations on how to act to minimise vulnerabilities and risks. A model-based approach allows them to analyse and assess the effect of alternative options of action. By extrapolating the methods developed in this way to other regions, similar research, as well as results that help support decision-making, is to be made possible there too. In addition to this ongoing work, further activities in the field of decision-making support and in developing sustainable urban water infrastructure systems are being planned.
In 2009, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) launched the initiative "Climate change and adaptive land management in Africa“ with the aim of establishing a long-term research infrastructure in Africa through regional centres of competence (see preliminary stage). ISOE is involved in setting up the Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management (or: SASSCAL), whose planned radius extends to Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and South Africa. Currently, our primary focus lies in various topics related to Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM).
Partners in Germany
Universität Hamburg (management and coordination of SASSCAL)
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Friedrich-Schiller-University of Jena
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz University of Hannover, Institute for Environmental Economics and World Trade
Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht Centre for Materials and Coastal Research GmbH (HZG)
Philipps-University of Marburg
University of Bremen
The initiative „SASSCAL – Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management“ is being funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).