Streamflow Forecasting in African Basins

In this website, we provide real-time streamflow forecasts for several pilot basins in Africa and their main sub-watersheds, as well as displays of recent rainfall over the basins as captured by different satellite precipitation products. The reader will also find a description of our methodology and regional efforts. Using rainfall estimates from the most recent satellite observations and near-term weather forecasts as inputs to hydrologic rainfall-runoff models, we will provide publicly available experimental streamflow forecasts with a lead time of 7 to 10 days.

This is a collaborative effort between the Department of Hydrology and Water Resources at the University of Arizona, the SERVIR Program of NASA and USAID, and the International Center for Integrated Water Resources Management (ICIWaRM-UNESCO). Adopting an integrative regional approach, we are working with many regional partners: the Regional Center for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD, Nairobi, Kenya) representing x members states in East Africa; the International Senegal Basin Authority (Organisation pour la Mise en Valeur du Fleuve Senegal , OMVS in Dakar, Senegal), representing the four riparian states; the AGRHYMET Regional Center (in Niamey, Niger), representing nine member states in West Africa; and the Climate Services Center of the Southern African Development Community (CSC-SADC in Gaborone, Botswana), representing 15 member states in Southern Africa. These efforts started with work in the Senegal Basin, where a detailed and applied research agenda was developed with the OMVS to help improve management tools to face complex challenges in the basin. The first modeling efforts in the Senegal Basin were supported by ICIWaRM-UNESCO, and the initiative is now growing thanks to the support of the NASA and USAID SERVIR Program with a 4 year project to expand multi-model and multi-product modeling in three pilot basins in Eastern and Southern Africa: the Mara Basin (Kenya, Tanzania), The Upper Zambezi Basin (Zambia, Angola, Namibia) and the Tekeze Basin (Ethiopia, Eritrea).

Answering to specific needs reported from the field, such as the lack of quantitative tools to estimate water availability at resolutions useful to decision-making, our team is developing tailored applications to fill that gap. The precipitation estimates used in this project are publicly available in the internet, as well as some of the hydrologic models used for streamflow forecasting. The developed applications can inform a range of water resources management activities, and adaptation in support of food, energy and livelihood security.