IGCP 565 Project Workshops
IGCP 565 Workshop 4: Integration of geodetic observations and products in models of the hydrological cycle
Support for water management through hydrological models and data assimilation
November 21-22, 2011
Johannesburg, South Africa
Hydrologic Measurement and Evaluation Gaps in Africa
Norman L. Miller
Department of Geography, University of California, Berkeley,
Earth Sciences Division, Berkeley National Laboratory
The terrestrial components of the hydrologic cycle consist of precipitation, evapotranspiration, infiltration, runoff, river flow, and groundwater. Precipitation in Africa is highly variable and recent rainfall deficits were the largest of any continent. Water scarcity exists through much of Africa, however this is more due to water distribution than availability. Africa’s 63 transboundary river basinsaccount for 93% of available water resources and cover 67% of the continent’s land area. The Millennium Development Goals (MDG) are not being met in Africa; water quality and quantity are lagging, 335 million African are without improved water quality, 498 are without sanitation. Improved hydrologic measurements are required for better managing water resources.
The most significant gap is insufficient data availability due to institutional roadblocks and lack of infrastructure. Many water resource management efforts have emerged during the last 10 years. Such international efforts include the TIGER, FEWS, MENA, GEOSS Africa, and the IGCP 565 projects. The challenge to African nations is to develop and utilize quality controlled spatial data, implement reliable monitoring systems that enable a good understanding of water related societal problems, to train users in Earth observations, and to advance and build new infrastructure and overcome political hurdles such that data can be shared and better utilized for decision support.