Energy, water and climate change in Southern Africa: what are the issues that need further investment and research?


Show simple item record Prasad, Gisela Boulle, Michael Boyd, Anya Rahlao, Sebataolo Wlokas, Holle Yaholnitsky, Ivan 2016-02-08T13:20:07Z 2016-02-08T13:20:07Z 2012
dc.identifier.citation Prasad, G. (2012). Energy, water and climate change in Southern Africa: what are the issues that need further investment and research? University of Cape Town, Energy Research Centre. en_ZA
dc.description.abstract Regional climate change projections in Southern Africa, based on GCMs comparing 2080-2099 to 1980-1999, indicate that global warming will most likely lead to greater than the global annual mean temperatures for all seasons, 3.1°C for summer warming and 3.4°C for winter warming (Christensen et al, 2007). Warming in Southern Africa will lead to increasing rainfall intensities, decreasing frequencies of low intensity (soft soaking) rainfall and longer dry period between rainfall events. This will result in more severe draughts, floods and heatwaves, which will lead to greater food insecurity. In historic times, draughts and floods had already major impacts on Southern African populations. Around 1200 to 1500, droughts led people to abandon settlements in the Kalahari Desert. The Lifaqane wars, starting in about 1815, were characterized by a 25-year period of famine and violent conflict between peoples in Southern Africa. During the 1991-1992 draught, 20 million people in the region (15% of SADC population) needed food relief (Dejene et al 2011). Many parts of Southern Africa face two critical resource constraints on development, namely energy and water. Energy and water are closely linked at different levels and scales. Water drives the turbines of hydroelectric power plants. Processing of coal and cooling in thermal and nuclear power plants requires water and energy is required to lift, treat and distribute water. Even at the household level, we observe water-energy linkages. When using water-saving showerheads, for example, we not only save water, but also electricity for heating the water. This complex interconnection is called the water-energy nexus. At the same time, coal-based power plants emit large amounts of greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change and climate variability which then leads to floods and droughts. In times of drought little water flows into hydroelectric dams, affecting electricity generation. For rural communities the greater frequencies and severity of droughts and floods caused by climate change leads not only to crop failure and subsequent hunger but also interferes with water supply technologies when, for example, the water levels in boreholes rise or fall beyond the specification of the pump. Thus climate change critically impacts the water-energy nexus. The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Canada commissioned the Energy Research Centre (ERC) at the University of Cape Town to assess the water-energy nexus in the context of climate change. ‘The goal of the exploratory project is to analyse the way energy and water services can be combined and improved to enhance resilience and adaptive capacity of communities to climate variability and change’. After an introduction to the water-energy nexus in Southern Africa (Chapter 1) and a brief review of the four countries studied as well as climate change scenarios for the Southern African region (Chapter 2), the study reports on the following four major research topics identified by the Southern African team: 1. The state of integrated planning of water and energy resources in the context of climate change (Chapter 3). 2. Opportunities and barriers for renewable energy technologies for rural water services in Namibia, Botswana and Mozambique (Chapters 4 and 5). 3. The water-energy nexus in policies of South Africa (Chapter 6). 4. An investigation of water supply adaptation technologies and strategies in a case study from Lesotho (Chapter 7). The assessment is based on secondary data through a cross-disciplinary desktop study, discussions with experts and two workshops. The countries covered in this report are Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, and South Africa. en_ZA
dc.language eng en_ZA
dc.publisher Energy Research Centre, University of Cape Town. en_ZA
dc.rights Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) *
dc.rights.uri en_ZA
dc.source Energy Research Centre en_ZA
dc.subject.other Greenhouse gas mitigation
dc.subject.other Energy policy
dc.subject.other Sustainable development
dc.title Energy, water and climate change in Southern Africa: what are the issues that need further investment and research? en_ZA
dc.type Journal Article en_ZA 2016-02-03T12:42:20Z
uct.type.publication Research en_ZA
uct.type.resource Article en_ZA
uct.subject.keywords energy en_ZA
uct.subject.keywords water en_ZA
uct.subject.keywords climate change en_ZA
uct.subject.keywords south africa en_ZA
dc.publisher.institution University of Cape Town
dc.publisher.faculty Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment en_ZA
dc.publisher.department Energy Research Centre en_ZA
uct.type.filetype Text
uct.type.filetype Image

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