Simulating Climate Change and Water Abstraction Impacts on the Hydrology and Ecology of the Okavango Delta

C. Milzow, V. Burg, and W. Kinzelbach (Switzerland)

Keywords

Okavango Delta, wetlands, groundwater, numerical modelling, climate change, ecology

Abstract

ION IMPACTS ON THE HYDROLOGY AND ECOLOGY OF THE OKAVANGO DELTA Christian Milzow, Vanessa Burg, & Wolfgang Kinzelbach Institute of Environmental Engineering, ETH Zurich 8093 Zurich, Switzerland milzow@ifu.baug.ethz.ch ABSTRACT A distributed hydrological model is applied to study the impact of climate change and water abstractions on the hydrology of the Okavango Delta Wetlands. The relation between the present distribution of hydrological conditions and the occurrence of vegetation classes is investigated. By assuming that the distribution of vegetation will in the long term adapt to hydrological conditions, the simulated hydrological conditions under climate change and water management scenarios are translated into vegetation maps for these scenarios. Drier conditions are expected for the future and aquatic vegetation zones will be reduced in size. This change will however occur non-homogeneously over the Delta.

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