REACH Research into impact

Video transcript

Dr Meron Teferi Taye, IWMI: Climate has been changing. We are experiencing different kinds of extreme cases floods, droughts. All of those things are having an impact on different kinds of water management activities. Decision makers and policymakers have issues in understanding the extent of climate risk for different locations, and also for different kinds of problems. 

Professor Daniel Olago, University of Nairobi: We are dealing with a situation where there's a deep uncertainty about tomorrow in terms of the water situation. In Lodwar Town, the reliance on groundwater resources is 100%. There wasn't any data as such that was really useful for any kind of decision making. They are basically then using a resource which they knew nothing much about. So one of the things that we set out to do was to understand, really, how does this groundwater resource vary with changes in climate? We needed them to also understand how this particular resource can be sustainably managed and used well into the future under the uncertainties that we are facing due to climate change. 

Dr Florence Tanui, University of Nairobi: We realized there was a connection between water quality and economic status of a household. And so since it is a major contributor to the development of these communities, we needed to understand the extent of the freshwater reserve and also to be able to guide the development of new boreholes. And this has really helped a lot because the county now target the areas where we have delineated as freshwater reserves. 

Dr Ellen Dyer, University of Oxford: There are so many models made by so many different modeling centres, so many different future scenarios those models are running, the question is then what do you use? The Turkana Jet is a great example of one of the physical processes that we would evaluate a model with. How does the model actually reproduce this process that we know is a key regional atmospheric circulation feature for East Africa? However, in the case of the Turkana Jet, there was an almost non-existent set of observations for that feature. And so a research campaign led by Dr. Callum Munday and the University of Nairobi actually did an observation campaign to understand this really important feature that influences rainfall and climate conditions in the Turkana Channel in Kenya, but also the rest of the region as well. The Kenya team at the University of Nairobi, have been integrating this understanding of the Turkana Jet into their understanding of groundwater. 

Dr Florence Tanui, University of Nairobi: We have seen this research being applied by IGAD, and also the Water Resources Authority in Kenya is absorbing the same data sets for the northeastern aquifers, which is very significant for us. 

Dr Meron Teferi Taye, IWMI: At the International Water Management Institute in collaboration with the REACH project the work we are trying to do is to characterise exceptional wet seasons, their drivers and also the associated floods. And that's going to help policymakers to make decisions like adaptation measures or what kind of interventions that they need to do. 

Hon. Jeremiah E. Lomorukai, Governor of Turkana County, Kenya: God has denied us water up there but he blessed us with water underground. Our county depends so much on partners, and they have supported us even in coming with a water master plan for the county that has really made the people of Turkana proud. And the Climate Change Fund, we've created. The Climate Change Regulations of 2021, that we've created. And then we have also the Climate Change Policy. 

Professor Daniel Olago, University of Nairobi: We have to keep on adjusting as we go along as the climate changes. Remember, we're in deep uncertainty and every day we'll be learning something new. The research work that we have done for the observatories that we have in Ethiopia and Kenya have given us enough grounding to be able to make decisions on how to really counter those changes and make sure that water security is embedded in the regions that we have worked in. 


Stories of Change

Since 2015, the REACH programme has been working with government, UNICEF, academic institutions, private sector and civil society partners to improve water security for 10 million people in Africa and Asia. The REACH Stories of Change presented below document key findings and the impact our work is having.  

These short reports illustrate the range of research impact - from influencing WASH policy and practice, to the development of cutting-edge models, tools and technologies, to empowering early-career, women and researchers from the global South and more. They underscore the value of science, inter-disciplinary research and partnerships for improving the lives of people in Africa and Asia and beyond.

A wheel graphic presenting the range of impact themes addressed in the REACH programme: climate, health, services, schools, gender, coasts, land, groundwater, basins, cities