Future Climate For Africa: HyCRISTAL

John Marsham, Principal Investigator and  water@leeds research fellow

The Future Climate for Africa (FCFA) programme is a £20 million (US$30 million) programme funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). FCFA presents two major opportunities: to generate fundamental climate science focused on Africa, and to ensure that this science has an impact on human development across the continent. It runs from 2015 to 2019.

FCFA is delivered by five independent research consortia, involving leading and emerging African, British and other international centres of excellence. Research on physical climate science is being undertaken at both pan-African and regional scales, and a selected number of pilot projects are providing on-the-ground demonstrations of how improved climate information support particular development decisions. The University of Leeds is involved in four of the five consortia, and water@leeds leads HyCRISTAL.

HyCRISTAL (Integrating Hydro-Climate Science into Policy Decisions for Climate-Resilient Infrastructure and Livelihoods in East Africa) will develop new understanding of climate change and its impacts in East Africa, working with the region’s decision-makers to manage water for a more climate-resilient future. The HyCRISTAL consortium consists of UK, USA and East African partners. Availability of water is fundamental for development in East Africa. However, this vital resource is already under stress from land degradation, pollution and overfishing. Climate change adds to these problems, greatly increasing the vulnerability of the poorest people in the region.

HyCRISTAL will improve our understanding of key climate-water processes in the region, and then work in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders to apply this knowledge in two different settings: rural communities around Lake Wamala and Lake Victoria that rely on   agriculture and fishing; and urban populations in Kampala and Kisumu where water supply and sanitation are under pressure. By developing climate science and helping water users assess their vulnerabilities, the HyCRISTAL project will increase the resilience of communities in East Africa. This will include the production of new, accessible, understandable and easy to- use tools for water resource management in a changing climate. The methods and tools developed will then be applied to decision-making processes.