Momentum for Change: Watergy: Lake Victoria Climate Change Assessment

Focus area: Mitigation; Adaptation
Location: Kisii, Kenya; Masaka, Uganda; Bukoba, Tanzania
Established: May 2009

The Alliance to Save Energy's Watergy program contributes to both climate mitigation and adaptation by focusing on the nexus of water and energy and improving the efficiency of water and sanitation systems.

Over the coming decades, climate change is expected to have pronounced impacts on both water availability and energy supply; climate change adaptation planning is thus a key issue in the Lake Victoria region.  Designed with the overarching goal of providing communities with the means to address water and energy concerns, this activity set out to address challenges facing three water utilities servicing medium-sized towns around the lake basin. The objectives of the activity were to increase access to affordable and safe water and sanitation services; improve managerial, technical and operational capacities at utilities in terms of climate change adaptation mitigation strategies, including energy efficiency measures; and make the case to the international donor community that utility investments are needed to address climate change.

With funding from U.N. Habitat's Water and Sanitation Trust Fund, the Alliance and its partners used a unique approach to build climate change adaptation capacity within the region through partnership arrangements that blended international expertise with local knowledge and experience. Working closely with three water utilities, the Alliance team  conducted climate change vulnerability assessments.

The effects of climate change in the Lake Victoria region and its potential impact on water systems using projected climatological temperature, precipitation, lake evaporation, and estimated natural outflow were analyzed. Then, using water management and planning software, the activity partners identified vulnerabilities to climate change. The findings were used to develop the "Climate Change Vulnerability and Assessment Guidebook for Small-Scale Utilities' includes lessons on hydrological modeling and water demand management, with a step-by-step process for assessing risks to operations, identifying adaptation and mitigation measures to counteract climate change impacts.

Mitigation / Adaptation

Social and environmental benefits

Potential for scaling-up and replication

Watergy projects have saved millions of kWh of energy, and millions of dollars in energy and water costs.  The energy savings translate to significant greenhouse gas emission reductions, making Wategy an extremely effective climate change mitigation strategy.  In addition, the Watergy program provides key climate change adaptation strategies, focusing on making the best use of available water and planning ahead for changes in water demand and supply. The 'Climate Change Vulnerability and Assessment Guidebook' produced for the Lake Victoria region is designed to be replicable in communities and municipal watershed management agencies throughout Africa.

The development of cycling is associated with the transformation of the urban mobility paradigm. Cycling, walking and public transport development go hand in hand. This will result in positive co-benefits such as reduced reliance on fossil fuels, better health, improved road safety and better affordability can be expected.

For over a decade, The Alliance's Watergy Program has helped more than 100 cities in 20 countries realize significant energy, water and monetary savings through technical and managerial changes in water supply systems by providing consumers with quality water while reducing water and energy waste.  The accrued savings result in immediate improvements in water service, increased water delivery, reduced water and energy consumption, and more revenue for system upgrades and new customer connections.

While no funds are committed now, the Alliance is interested in working again with regional or international organizations to bring the Watergy program and the Climate Change Vulnerability and Assessment Guidebook to more cities.