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Potential impacts of climate, land use and land cover changes on hydropower generation in West Africa: a review

Abstract : This study aims to review the existing literature on the past and future effects of climate, land use, and land cover changes on hydropower generation in West Africa (WA), based on listings in the Scopus and Google Scholar databases. This review shows that several African hydropower plants have experienced repeated power disruptions over the last three decades due to climate change and variability but it is less documented how increasing land use and land cover changes around the major dams have impacted the hydrological system and the hydropower generation. In the future, the risks of hydropower in WA may not be equally distributed within a country or region. Despite uncertainties in precipitation and on impacts on streamflow and water level in major basins, climate change is likely to reduce the available water over the range of 10%-20% (15%-40%) for the RCP4.5 (RCP8.5) scenario by 2050, which may considerably affect the water demand across all sectors, including hydropower. However, in the Kainji dam (Niger River basin), models project an increase in rainfall favorable to hydropower production for both RCP4.5 and RCP8.5. In contrast, within the Black Volta sub-basin, the intensification of land use is predicted to favor runoff and, consequently, an increase in the generation of Bui hydropower in the near future, even though models predict a rainfall decrease. This increase in land use for agriculture to feed a growing population has other adverse effects that need to be assessed, namely sedimentation and siltation, which are harmful to hydropower plants. Finally, the combined impact of climate and land use changes on the efficiency of hydroelectric infrastructure in WA is not well documented, while sustainable planning and investments in the hydropower sector require consideration of the nexus between climate, land use changes, and water.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, June 28, 2022 - 3:23:52 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, June 29, 2022 - 3:20:25 AM


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Salomon Obahoundje, Arona Diedhiou. Potential impacts of climate, land use and land cover changes on hydropower generation in West Africa: a review. Environmental Research Letters, 2022, 17, ⟨10.1088/1748-9326/ac5b3b⟩. ⟨insu-03706380⟩



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