In an effort to ensure sustainable development along Kenya’s Tana River Basin, Wetlands International today unveiled a report that provides data for evidence-based development planning to ensure prudent allocation of the water resources that river provides.

The study, entitled ‘The Economics of Ecosystems Services of the Tana River Basin’ presents a cost-benefit analysis of environmental and societal changes among both upstream and downstream communities along the the river basin.

Key findings:
Hydrology: Interventions of the High Grand Falls Dam (HGF) and its related large-scale irrigation schemes have the potential to change the hydrological system dramatically, with the most impact being felt in Garissa, where overall water resources will be greatly reduced.
Ecology: The upper catchment is the most degraded. Areas with the most impact appear to closely overlap with the distribution of cropland, a clear indicator that poor agricultural practices are the main causes of land degradation.
Economy: Irrigated agriculture has the potential to produce 64,000 tons of rice and maize per year. The benefits of hydropower total an annual $25-43 when compared to natural gas and geothermal alternatives.
Stakeholders: The general degree of awareness and knowledge regarding large infrastructural interventions is low. There is also inadequate harmonization of interests among the relevant ministries.
The report shows that the negative effects of the HGF dam upstream exceed the benefits of the dam upstream, a factor that does not necessarily mean that the project should be abandoned, but that available evidence calls for further investigation on how to mitigate the negative consequences of the dam downstream.

The study was conducted by Wetlands International in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs and supported Kenya’s Water Resources Management Authority, University of Nairobi, Institute for Environmental Studies (Netherlands) and the National Museums of Kenya.
The full report is available here:https://www.wetlands.org/publications/the-economics-of-ecosystem-services-of-the-tana-river-basin/

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