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Assessment of the impact of climate change on the freshwater availability of Kaduna River basin, Nigeria

Okafor, Gloria C., Ogbu, Kingsley N.
Journal of water and land development 2018 v.38 no.1 pp. 105-114
basins, climate change, climatic factors, environmental impact, freshwater, humans, hydrologic cycle, livelihood, models, rain, risk, runoff, stream flow, surveys, temperature, water management, water shortages, water stress, watersheds, Nigeria
Changes in runoff trends have caused severe water shortages and ecological problems in agriculture and human well-being in Nigeria. Understanding the long-term (inter-annual to decadal) variations of water availability in river basins is paramount for water resources management and climate change adaptation. Climate change in Northern Nigeria could lead to change of the hydrological cycle and water availability. Moreover, the linkage between climatic changes and streamflow fluctuations is poorly documented in this area. Therefore, this study examined temporal trends in rainfall, temperature and runoff records of Kaduna River basin. Using appropriate statistical tools and participatory survey, trends in streamflow and their linkages with the climate indices were explored to determine their amplifying impacts on water availability and impacts on livelihoods downstream the basin. Analysis indicate variable rainfall trend with significant wet and dry periods. Unlike rainfall, temperature showed annual and seasonal scale statistically increasing trend. Runoff exhibit increasing tendency but only statistically significant on annual scale as investigated with Mann–Kendall trend test. Sen’s estimator values stood in agreement with Mann–Kendall test for all variables. Kendall tau and partial correlation results revealed the influence of climatic variables on runoff. Based on the survey, some of the hydrological implications and current water stress conditions of these fluctuations for the downstream inhabitants were itemized. With increasing risk of climate change and demand for water, we therefore recommend developing adaptive measures in seasonal regime of water availability and future work on modelling of the diverse hydrological characteristics of the entire basin.