Evaluating Water Security in a Challenging Environment: Case Study of Oti Nord Sub Basin in Togo
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Water shortage across the globe has increased due to climate change among other factors with highly projected impacts expected at river basin level. Anticipating these impacts will help act on time to avoid future water crisis. As part of addressing future water shortage impacts on the Togolese community, this study aims at evaluating water security in the context of the global environmental change at river basin level taking the Oti Nord sub-basin as a case study. Primary data were obtained through key informants’ interviews while secondary data were gathered from relevant published and non-published papers and databases. Key informant interviews were done with staff from the governmental institutions, in addition to NGOs, community-based organisations and private operators. The Improved Fuzzy Comprehensive Evaluation Model (IFCEM) was used in assessing water security level in the sub-basin. The results showed that the implementation of the adopted Integrated Water Resources Management approach was still at an early stage and not really evolving. To ensure water security in the Oti Nord sub-basin, the existing institutions, from different levels and domains of intervention contribute either directly (through water resources mobilisation, water resources management, control of pollution, protection of water bodies, development of water bodies, and the monitoring of drinking water quality) or indirectly (through juridical intervention, awareness raising and tree planting). Nevertheless, actions carried by these institutions are done in a dispersed way. As for the water security level, the study has shown that the overall water level is very insecure in the sub-basin for the assessed years (2010, 2015 and 2025) with the year 2025 being the worse. Water insecurity in the Oti Nord sub-basin is found to be the result of the combination of a decreasing water resources available (associated with the challenging environment such as population growth, climate change among others) and water quality deterioration. Finally, this insecurity is found to be the result of many factors including technical, institutional, juridical, environmental, socio-cultural, hydrogeological and demographical factors. It was concluded that water security at basin level is subjected to changes in a challenging environment overtime (including climate change, population growth, GDP growth, land degradation among others). Nevertheless, factors such as water governance (including policies and regulations, management institutions and investments), nature (i.e. hydrogeological characteristics) and culture (i.e. taboos and buy laws) play key role in shaping the overall water security level. This study therefore recommends that government should prepare directives for the application of adopted water policies and regulations. The consideration of joined efforts in achieving water security by the existing institutions will be of great benefit. Sound waste management system should be established by the government along with awareness raising and educative activities to reduce the level of water pollution (especially surface waters) in the study area. Moreover, the improvement of the existing water information system (in terms of both data quality and quantity) is required. Finally, to overcome the hydrogeological constraint in the area, methods for water conservation and the use of non-traditional water resources, like rain water harvesting, should be considered and introduced.
- Nexus: Water-Climate