Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2021-151
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2021-151

  29 Mar 2021

29 Mar 2021

Review status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Land-use and climate change effects on water yield from East African Forested Water Towers

Charles Nduhiu Wamucii1, Pieter R. van Oel2, Arend Ligtenberg3, John Mwangi Gathenya4, and Adriaan J. Teuling1 Charles Nduhiu Wamucii et al.
  • 1Hydrology and Quantitative Water Management Group, Wageningen University & Research, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
  • 2Water Resources Management Group, Wageningen University & Research, 6700AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
  • 3Laboratory of Geo-information Science and Remote Sensing, Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University & Research, 6708 PB Wageningen, The Netherlands
  • 4Soil, Water and Environmental Engineering Department, School of Biosystems and Environmental Engineering, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology, P.O Box 62000 - 00200 Nairobi, Kenya

Abstract. East-African forested mountain regions are vital in generating and supplying water resources to adjacent arid and semi-arid lowlands. However, these ecosystems are under pressure from both climate and land-use changes. This study aimed to analyze the effects of climate and land-use changes on water yield using the Budyko conceptual framework. For 9 selected forested water towers in East Africa, the amount and distribution of water resources and their decadal changes were analyzed. Results show that most areas inside and outside the water towers are under pressure from human influences. Water yield was observed to be more sensitive to climate changes compared to land-use changes within the selected East African water towers themselves. However, for the surrounding lowlands, the effects of land-use changes have greater impacts on water yield. We conclude that the East-African water towers have seen a strong shift towards wetter conditions, especially in the period of 2011–2019 while at the same time, the atmospheric demand is gradually increasing. Given that majority of the water towers were identified as non-resilient to these changes, future water yield is likely to also experience more extreme variations.

Charles Nduhiu Wamucii et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CC1: 'Comment on hess-2021-151', Steve Lyon, 21 Apr 2021
    • RC3: 'CC1 again as RC', Steve Lyon, 26 Apr 2021
      • AC1: 'Reply on RC3', Charles Wamucii, 27 May 2021
  • RC1: 'Comment on hess-2021-151', M. van Noordwijk, 21 Apr 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC1', Charles Wamucii, 27 May 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on hess-2021-151', Anonymous Referee #2, 22 Apr 2021
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC2', Charles Wamucii, 27 May 2021

Charles Nduhiu Wamucii et al.

Charles Nduhiu Wamucii et al.

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Short summary
The East-African water towers are under pressure from human influences both within and outside. The patterns in water yield showed a strong longitudinal difference, though the elevation is a key factor that ensures the generation of water in the water towers located in drier environments. A hydroclimatic phenomenon is occurring in the East-African region as the water towers show a strong shift towards wetter conditions while at the same time, the atmospheric demand is gradually increasing.