Aerial view of the Zambezi. Photo: golero / Getty Images.

Sub-Saharan Africa is already feeling the effects of climate change. Extreme weather events – such as floods, droughts and storms – threaten this region’s economies, and underscore the need for climate-resilient infrastructure.

SEI evaluated seven major river basins in the region: those of the Congo, Orange, Niger, Nile, Senegal, Volta, and Zambezi rivers. These basins hold strategic significance in terms of hydropower, basic water supply and irrigation potential; together, they account for some 200 gigawatts (GW) of hydropower generation capacity and have the potential to increase irrigation capacity by more than 60%.

For each basin, SEI created a model in its Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) system. These models enabled users to estimate streamflow, as well as domestic and agricultural water demands, under various climate futures – and to explore different management strategies and investments under a range of uncertainties.