IWA Publishing

Adaptation to climate change impacts on crop water requirements in Kikafu catchment, Tanzania

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Agricultural activities are the main livelihood for about 70% of Tanzania's population, with women being the main players. Crops need water (crop water requirements, CWRs) for their growth and production, which can either be rain-fed or irrigation sourced. However, climate change has affected the hydrological cycle, particularly water available for agricultural crops. Since impacts and consequently adaptation are site-specific, an assessment of the effects of climate change on maize water requirements in Kikafu sub-catchment was conducted using a crop simulation model, CROPWAT. Accordingly, climate scenarios were obtained from A2 emission scenario using three general circulation models (GCMs). These scenarios were downscaled at two site locations using the Long Ashton Research Station Weather Generator (LARS-WG) model. The baseline period for the change analysis was 1971–2000. The CWRs are projected to increase by 3.8% in the 2020s and 7.1% in the 2050s at the Moshi Airport and 19.9 and 22.4% at Lyamungu station, respectively. More impact is projected to be during 70–80 days of the development stage and the entire mid-season (81–140 days) whereby the temperature will be high but with low precipitation. With the increasing CWRs, better adaptation measures are increase crop diversification, restore soil organic matter and change cropping systems as established through the multi-criteria analysis.

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