The Impact of Land Use and Land Cover (LULC) Change on Water Resources and its Implication for Smallholder Farmers in Rwanda. A case study of Lake Cyohoha North
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The catchment of Lake Cyohoha North is currently faced with climate change, increasing subsistence farming, increasing household numbers, urbanization, declining the quantity and the quality of water resources, population growth, and escalating development pressures. These factors have consequently triggered changes in LULC and incited issues such as land degradation, reduced crop production, excessive and prolonged droughts, limited public access to resources, increased illegal activities, food insecurity and hunger, deforestation, erosion, encroachment of Cyohoha Lake buffer zone and excessive growth of aquatic weeds. Furthermore, there have been past high levels of in-migration, leading to unsustainable land-use practices degrading Lake Cyohoha North. These issues pose a challenge to the government which strives to plan effectively to maintain ecosystem functions for a sustainable nation. To meet this challenge requires understanding drivers of LULC. A study of changes in LULC was conducted by integration of a remote sensing study of LULC maps using 2002, 2010 and 2018 Land Use/Land Cover Maps for Rwanda, opinion of experts in the form of face-to-face interviews, catchment’s smallholder farmers survey and past literature analysis. An adapted DPSIR Framework was used to analyze the relationship between anthropogenic activities and land-use change and present LULC changes in the study area. The results of this study show that LULC changes in Lake Cyohoha catchment are driven by political, economic, environmental, demographic, technological and cultural factors. Socioeconomic benefits will result from effective future planning policies and strategies. The results from remote sensing reveal significant reduction in forests and open land and increase in agricultural land, -8.58%, -17.26% and 28.19% net change respectively which affected 61.04% and 29.37% decrease in wetland and the lake size. Finally, based on significant impact that agriculture sector has on Rwanda’s economy whereby more than 80% of population depends on agriculture, 91% of food consumption and 34% GDP are from national agriculture; an investigation was conducted by surveying the impact LULC change and Lake Cyohoha degradation had on smallholder farmers. The results show reduction in crop and fish production, coupled with climate change, increased the number of local communities eating once a day to 80%. Therefore, knowledge from this study can be used by planners as a guide to effectively planning policies and other driving factors, ensuring achievement of SDG 2 and 6 in Lake Cyohoha catchment.
- Water Management