WRI Seminar

Water Resources Institute has initiated a practice of holding seminars. The main objective of these seminars is to provide a platform to all the water and environment practitioners, researchers and academia were people can share their idea, research and best practices with the different stakeholder. Its within the frame work of the WRI that applied research within the sector is strengthened.
These seminars are held every last Friday of the month starting 11:00AM

Seminar 1: Groundwater recharge and the amplification of rainfall extremes under climate change
by Professor Richard Taylor

Global warming presents major challenges to efforts seeking to expand and sustain water supplies across tropical Africa in pursuit of UN SDGs 2 (Zero Hunger), 6 (Water and Sanitation for All), and 11 (Climate Action) among others. Notwithstanding persistent uncertainty in the projected direction of change illustrated by the East African Paradox, one robust universal impact of global warming, pronounced in the tropics, is the intensification of precipitation, which is characterized by a shift towards fewer but heavier rainfalls. What is the impact of this transition on terrestrial water balances and specifically the replenishment of vital groundwater supplies? What is the evidence to date from observations and how do these to compare to models used to project climate change impacts?  How might these changes impact freshwater demand? This seminar presentation and discussion will interrogate these questions and seek to draw out potential policy implications to inform adaptation strategies resilient to climate change.

Seminar 2: Observed urban groundwater contamination from heavy rainfalls: evidence from Uganda and Senegal

By Professor Richard Taylor

On-site water supply and sanitation systems play a vital role in the pursuit of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 6 (water and sanitation for all) in many rural and low-income urban communities globally. Sustaining this conjunctive use of the subsurface for water supplies (e.g. shallow wells, springs) and sanitation (e.g. pit latrines, septic tanks) is especially challenging under conditions of rapid urbanization taking place in many African cities.  High-frequency monitoring of groundwater quality reveals, in places, episodic faecal contamination in association of heavy rain events (>10 mm/day). What are key factors that determine the vulnerability of on-site water and sanitation facilities to contamination? What pathways does the rapid transmission of faecal pathogens to groundwater trace?  To what extent might climate change exacerbate the risk of contamination to untreated, on-site water supplies? This seminar will interrogate these questions and explore not only the implications of these observations for how we measure access to safe water and sanitation, but also the potential of a new instant method for monitoring faecal contamination of water supplies based on fluorescence.
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Seminar 3: Hydrological consequences of climate change in the Rwenzori Mountains of Uganda

The Rwenzori Mountains are home to one of the world’s last remaining tropical icefields outside of the Andes in South America. Rapid decline in the number and areal extent of glaciers, observed from field surveys and remote sensing, has occurred in response to rising air temperatures, recorded in lowland meteorological stations most abruptly since the 1960s. Evidence from historical observations and spot measurements of river discharge, the latter along altitudinal transects of the River Mubuku draining alpine icefields, indicates current glacial recession has a negligible impact on alpine riverflow. The cool temperature and high specific discharge of the River Mubuku arise from high rates of precipitation exceeding 2000 mm/year below alpine icefields. It is proposed that the increased frequency of extreme floods and droughts noted in rivers draining the Rwenzori Mountains results from the intensification of precipitation due to global warming that is most pronounced in the tropics.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2009.04.008: Taylor, R.G., L. Mileham, C. Tindimugaya and L. Mwebembezi, 2009. Recent glacial recession and its impact on alpine riverflow in the Rwenzori Mountains of Uganda. Journal of African Earth Sciences, Vol. 55, pp. 205-213.
https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2006GL025962: Taylor, R.G., Mileham, L., Tindimugaya, C., Majugu, A., Nakileza, R., Muwanga, A., 2006. Recent deglaciation in the Rwenzori Mountains of East Africa due to rising air temperatures. Geophysical Research Letters Vol. 33, L10402.

2014 blogpost @ Columbia University's Glacier Hub: Glaciers Recede in East Africa’s “Mountains of the Moon”