Climate change poses a big risk in flood water management in Kenya

WATER RESOURCES Kenya’s scarce water resources, strained by population growth and severe forest degradation, could be further stressed by increasing temperatures, evaporation rates and rainfall variability. The country relies predominantly on surface water sources, but key rivers and lakes are highly susceptible to climate change. In 2010 Kenya’s water availability was 586m3 per person annually, well below the internationally acceptable threshold of 1,000m3 per person; this figure is expected to fall to as low as 293m3 by 2050. Increasingly severe droughts and flooding will impact water availability and diminish water quality, with implications for irrigation and domestic water supply and sanitation, which combined account for 87 percent of current use. Urban areas are already highly water stressed; Mombasa regularly implements water rationing. Glacial loss on Mount Kenya is further straining water resources and Climate Stressors and Climate Risks WATER RESOURCES Stressors Risks Rising temperatures & evaporation rate Increased rainfall variability Increased frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall Sea level rise Increased water scarcity and variability for irrigation, domestic use, hydropower and industry Accelerated glacial loss; reduced river flows from Mt. Kenya Increased flood damage to water supply and sanitation infrastructure Saltwater intrusion into coastal aquifers (supplying a population of 3 million); decreased water quality turning once glacially-fed perennial rivers, such as the Ewaso Ng’iro, to seasonal flows, leading to conflict over water resources between communities upstream and downstream. (3, 5, 7, 20) ENERGY AND INFRASTRUCTURE Increased evaporation rates and more severe drought threaten Kenya’s hydropower production, which accounts for about one-half of domestic electricity production. Hydro production is reduced by up to 40 percent in drought years, leading to persistent power outages and reliance on more expensive petroleum-based thermal generation. Projections of sea level rise and increased heavy precipitation events leading to flooding and landslides put energy, transportation and building infrastructure at risk. Models estimate that in Mombasa as much as $4.8 billion worth of assets will be exposed to flooding and inundation from sea Climate Stressors and Climate Risks ENERGY AND INFRASTRUCTURE Stressors Risks Rising temperatures & evaporation rate Increased frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall Sea level rise Reduced hydropower production Increased flooding and landslides, damaging power generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure as well as transportation and building infrastructure Damage to Port Kilindini and coastal infrastructure level rise by 2050, including Port Kilindini, the largest seaport in East Africa. (5, 6, 7, 12) ECOSYSTEMS Kenya’s diverse ecosystems (represented in more than 50 national protected areas and a portion of the Coastal Forests of Eastern Africa biodiversity hotspot) provide important ecosystem services and are critical to the country’s $2.5 billion tourism industry, which accounts for 3.7 percent of GDP. Coastal mangroves and coral reefs, critical for fisheries, storm surge protection and tourism, are damaged by rising seas and increasing ocean temperatures. Reefs in particular are highly sensitive to heat stress and have not yet fully recovered from an extensive 1998 El Niño-induced coral bleaching event. Inland grasslands and forests are at risk from increasing temperatures and more variable rainfall, leading to drought conditions, increased risk of Climate Stressors and Climate Risks ECOSYSTEMS Stressors Risks Rising temperatures Increased rainfall variability Sea level rise Reduced grassland productivity and degradation; increased severity of forest fires Reduced and shifted ranges for native species; biodiversity loss Degradation/loss of coastal wetland habitats, mangroves, coral reefs and fisheries Economic losses to tourism grassland and forest fires, and shifting distributions of native and invasive species. These changes may have detrimental impacts on the African elephant, lion and buffalo – important for both ecosystem functioning and tourism. (2, 5, 7, 25) CLIMATE RISK IN KENYA: COUNTRY RISK PROFILE | 4 HUMAN HEALTH A warmer, wetter climate is expected to increase malaria, Rift Valley fever and dengue transmission in both temperate highland and arid lowland regions. At particular risk are the highlands, where about 70 percent of Kenyans live. These populations historically have had limited contact with diseases like malaria and thus have lower resistance. Malaria is already responsible for 5 percent of deaths in children under five and accounts for significant health-related expenses. Heat stress from increased temperatures will particularly affect the elderly and those in dense urban areas, such as informal settlements in Nairobi and Mombasa, where temperatures can rise dramatically due to the urban heat island effect. Heat-related mortality among the elderly is projected to increase from 2 deaths annually per 100,000 people in 1990 to 45 by 2080. Increased heavy rainfall leading to more frequent and intense flooding raises the risk of drowning and displacement. Waterborne diseases such as typhoid, cholera, hepatitis A and diarrhea are particularly dangerous for the 17 million people Climate Stressors and Climate Risks HUMAN HEALTH Stressors Risks Rising temperatures and increased duration of heat waves Increased heavy rainfall Sea level rise Increased heat stress-related mortality and morbidity, particularly among the elderly Increased food insecurity and malnutrition Increased risk of vector- and waterborne diseases, including malaria and cholera Inland and coastal flooding, leading to increased drowning, displacement and food insecurity without access to improved water sources. With access to basic sanitation at just 30 percent, diarrhea is already a leading cause of mortality and cases tend to surge after flooding, as seen in the coastal and western regions in 2012. The impacts of climate variability and sea level rise on agriculture may exacerbate food insecurity in the country where 26 percent of children under five already experience stunting. (4, 7, 10, 16, 21, 22) POLICY CONTEXT Kenya is a leader in addressing climate change and was one of the first countries in Africa to enact a comprehensive law and policy to guide national and subnational climate action. The Climate Change Act and the National Climate Change Policy Framework of 2016 provide guidance for low-carbon and climateresilient development. INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK The country’s institutional framework for climate change is in development, as the 2016 climate change legislation is in the process of being implemented. The legislation directed the formation of the National Climate Change Secretariat, the lead government agency on national climate change plans and actions. The Secretariat, housed in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, is responsible for coordinating and assisting climate change responses among subnational entities and managing the Kenya Climate Change Knowledge Portal. The legislation also directs the formation of a National Climate Change Council chaired by the president and responsible for mainstreaming climate action by national and county government entities. The country can access climate financing through the National Environment Management Authority, a National Implementing Entity for the Adaptation Fund and accredited by the UNFCCC Green Climate Fund. NATIONAL STRATEGIES AND PLANS Kenya’s National Adaptation Plan and National Climate Change Action Plan are intended to be reviewed every five years to inform the Medium Term Plans of the Vision 2030 strategy. Key policies and strategies include: • Climate Change Act and National Climate Change Framework Policy (2016) • Kenya National Adaptation Plan 2015–2030 (2016) • National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) 2013–2017 (2013) • National Climate Change Response Strategy (NCCRS) (2010) • Strategy for Northern Kenya and Other Arid Lands and National Policy for the Sustainable Development of Northern Kenya and Other Arid Lands (2011) • Drought Risk Management and Ending Drought Emergencies Sector Plan 2013–2017 (2012) • National Water Master Plan (2014) • Vision 2030 CLIMATE RISK IN KENYA: COUNTRY RISK PROFILE | 5 KEY RESOURCES 1. CIAT. 2011. Future climate scenarios for Kenya’s tea growing areas. 2. Cinner et al. 2012. Vulnerability of coastal communities to key impacts of climate change on coral reef fisheries 3. Climate Service Center Germany. 2015. Climate Fact Sheet: Kenya. 4. EC. 2017. Country profile on nutrition, Kenya. 5. GoK. 2015. Second National Communication, UNFCCC. 6. GoK. 2013. Long-term national low carbon climate resilient development pathway: climate risk assessment. 7. GoK. 2012a. Government of Kenya Adaptation Technical Analysis Report. 8. GoK. 2012b. Kenya Post-Disaster Needs Assessment, 2008-2011 Drought. 9. IFPRI. 2012. East African agriculture and climate change: A comprehensive analysis, Kenya. 10. IFRC. 2012. DREF final report: Kenya floods. 11. Kabubo-Mariara et al. 2016. The Impact of Climate Change on Food Calorie Production and Nutritional Poverty: Evidence from Kenya. 12. Kebede et al. 2010. Impacts of climate change and sea level rise: Preliminary case study, Mombasa. 13. SEI. 2010.Economics of climate change, Kenya. 14. Thornton et al. 2009. Spatial variation of crop yield response to climate change in East Africa. 15. UNEP. 2012. Africa without glaciers. 16. UNICEF. 2015. Malaria mortality among children under five is concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa. 17. USAID. 2014. Compilation of three climate change research reports: Ghana, Kenya and Burkina Faso. 18. USAID. 2010. A climate trend analysis of Kenya. 19. USAID. 2018. Climate Change Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation Assessment for East Africa. 20. Wesangula. 2017. Dying gods: Mt Kenya’s disappearing glaciers spread violence below. 21. WHO. 2015a. Climate and health country profile, Kenya. 22. WHO. 2015b. Kenya: WHO statistical profile. 23. World Bank. 2016. Kenya Country Profile. 24. World Bank. n.d. Kenya Climate Risk and Adaptation Profile. 25. World Travel & Tourism Council. 2017. Economic Impact 2017, Kenya. Map source: WorldClim Global Climate Data and Hijmans, R.J. et al. 2005. Very high resolution interpolated climate surfaces for global land areas. International Journal of Climatology 25: 1965–1978.