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.

Research approach

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.

Background

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

Funding

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).

Publications

Lütkemeier, Robert/Stefan Liehr (2019): Integrated responses to drought risk in Namibia and Angola. ISOE Policy Brief, 6. Frankfurt am Main: ISOE - Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung

de Clercq, Willem/Jörg Helmschrot/Marlene de Witt/Thomas Himmelsbach/Piet Kenabatho/Sven Kralisch/Stefan Liehr/Lopes Ferreira Baptista/Oarabile Mogobe/Pauline Mufeti/Inken Müller/Imasiku Nyambe/Henry M. Sichingabula/Amandio Teixeira-Pinto/Gabriela J.P. Teixeira Pires/Martin Hipondoka/Heike Wanke (2018): Water research in southern Africa: Data collection and innovative approaches towards climate change adaptation in the water sector. In: Revermann, Rasmus/Kristin M. Krewenka/Ute Schmiedel/Jane M. Olwoch/Jörg Helmschrot/Norbert Jürgens (Ed.): Climate change and adaptive land management in southern Africa - assessment, changes, challenges, and solutions. Biodiversity & Ecology, 6. Göttingen & Windhoek: Klaus Hess Publishers, 54-65

Lütkemeier, Robert (2018): Households at Risk. Integrated Assessment of Drought Hazard and Social Vulnerability in the Cuvelai-Basin of Angola and Namibia. Dissertation zur Erlangung des Doktorgrades (Dr.rer.nat.) der Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftlichen Fakultät der Rheinischen Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn. Bonn, 223

Lütkemeier, Robert/Johanna Kramm/Stefan Liehr (2018): Living in the 'hottest room' of hothouse Earth. How a multi-resources-mix can reduce drought risk in Namibia. Water Solutions (3), 82-86

Lütkemeier, Robert/Stefan Liehr (2018): Drought sensitivity in the Cuvelai Basin: empirical analysis of seasonal water and food consumption patterns.In: Revermann, Rasmus/Kristin M. Krewenka/Ute Schmiedel/Jane M. Olwoch/Jörg Helmschrot/Norbert Jürgens (Ed.): Climate change and adaptive land management in southern Africa - assessment, changes, challenges, and solutions. Biodiversity & Ecology, 6. Göttingen & Windhoek: Klaus Hess Publishers, 160-167

Lütkemeier, Robert/Lina Stein/Lukas Drees/Hannes Müller/Stefan Liehr (2018): Uncertainty of Rainfall Products: Impact on Modelling Household Nutrition from Rain-Fed Agriculture in Southern Africa. Water 10 (4), 499

Taubenböck, Hannes/Inken Müller/Christian Geiß/Robert Lütkemeier (2018): Risk management - a conceptual foundation. In: Revermann, Rasmus/Kristin M. Krewenka/Ute Schmiedel/Jane M. Olwoch/Jörg Helmschrot/Norbert Jürgens (Ed.): Climate change and adaptive land management in southern Africa - assessment, changes, challenges, and solutions. Biodiversity & Ecology, 6. Göttingen & Windhoek: Klaus Hess Publishers, 132-135

Kampfl, Sarah/Robert Lütkemeier/Stefan Liehr (2017): Impact of Household Decisions on Grazing Pressure in Northern Namibia. Modelling Approach for Sustainable Livestock Management. SASSCAL NEWS 2 (2), 13-14

Lütkemeier, Robert/Lina Stein/Lukas Drees/Stefan Liehr (2017): Blended Drought Index: Integrated Drought Hazard Assessment in the Cuvelai-Basin.Climate 5 (3), 51

Lütkemeier, Robert/Lina Stein/Lukas Drees/Stefan Liehr (2017): Drought in the Cuvelai-Basin. Integrated Tool for Drought Hazard Assessment.SASSCAL NEWS 2 (3), 12-13

Lütkemeier, Robert/Stefan Liehr (2015): Impact of drought on the inhabitants of the Cuvelai watershed: A qualitative exploration. In: Andreu, Joaquin/Abel Solera/Javier Paredes-Arquiola/David Haro-Monteagudo/Henny van Lanen (Ed.): Drought - Research and Science-Policy Interfacing. 10.-13.03.2015, Valencia. London: Taylor & Francis Group, 41-48

Duration

2013/04 – 2017/10