Vulnerability to climatic variability: An assessment of drought prevalence on water resources availability and implications for the Ugandan economy

Working paper 542
Author(s): 
Nicholas Kilimani
Publication date: 
August, 2015
Classification-JEL: 

The volatile changes in climate are increasingly becoming a threat to many economies globally. This study assesses Uganda’s vulnerability to climatic variability in the context of how these volatile changes in climate are likely to affect long-run water resources availability. This is done by using household survey data, rainfall data as well as findings from a water resource accounting study on Uganda. First, we use the results from the water accounts to establish the current level of demand for available water resources. Second, these findings are mirrored to the drought prevalence results with a view to highlight the potential adverse affects on water availability, and ultimately economic activity in Uganda.

Whereas the country’s water resource accounting position shows that the current level of water resources is still adequate to meet current demand, drought is affecting economic activity primarily in the agricultural sector since it is rain-fed. It is also affecting the water recharge system as a big proportion of precipitation is lost through evapo-transpiration. This has implications for long-run water availability for the country. The findings point to the need for policy interventions that can ensure optimal water use in the economy. These may include improved hydrological planning and the development of water supply infrastructure.

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