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Bottom-up climate risk assessment of infrastructure investment in the Niger River Basin

TitleBottom-up climate risk assessment of infrastructure investment in the Niger River Basin
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsGhile Y, Taner M.U., Brown C, Grijsen J.G., Talbi A
JournalClimatic Change
Start Page97
Date Published11/2013
Keywordsclimate, Climate change, infrastructure, irrigated farming, Niger, risk, risk assessment, water resources, watersheds, wet season

The Niger River is the third largest river in the African continent. Nine riparian countries share its basin, which rank all among the world’s thirty poorest. Existing challenges in West Africa, including endemic poverty, inadequate infrastructure and weak adaptive capacity to climate variability, make the region vulnerable to climate change. In this study, a risk-based methodology is introduced and demonstrated for the analysis of climate change impacts on planned infrastructure investments in water resources systems in the Upper and Middle Niger River Basin. The methodology focuses on identifying the vulnerability of the Basin’s socio-economic system to climate change, and subsequently assessing the likelihood of climate risks by using climate information from a multi-run, multi-GCM ensemble of climate projections. System vulnerabilities are analyzed in terms of performance metrics of hydroelectricity production, navigation, dry and rainy season irrigated agriculture, flooding in the Inner Delta of the Niger and the sustenance of environmental flows. The study reveals low to moderate risks in terms of stakeholder-defined threshold levels for most metrics in the 21st Century. The highest risk levels were observed for environmental flow targets. The findings indicate that the range of projected changes in an ensemble of CMIP3 GCM projections imply only relatively low risks of unacceptable climate change impacts on the present large-scale infrastructure investment plan for the Basin.