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The impacts of climate change on cattle water demand and supply in Khurutshe, Botswana

The primary question that the thesis investigates is: what impacts could climate change have on cattle water demand and supply in Khurutshe, Botswana. This thesis is pursued in light of the fact that there is a lack of knowledge on climate change and cattle water demand and supply. Thus, this thesis aims at filling the gap in knowledge on climate change and cattle water resources in Botswana and other semi-arid environments. A cattle water demand and supply model is developed to investigate the primary question of the thesis. The model is driven by rainfall and temperature over time as these variables largely determine cattle water supply and demand, respectively. Climate scenarios for 2050 are constructed using SimCLIM (developed by the International Global Change Institute of the University of Waikato) based on HadCM3 and CSIRO Mk2 General Circulation Models (GCMs). Three Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES) are used: A1B, A1FT and A1T. These emission scenarios were selected based on their coverage for possible future Greenhouse Gas emissions (GHG). Climate scenarios show that by 2050 the temperature for the Khurutshe area could increase by as much as 3 oC depending on the GCM and SRES emission scenario and that there could be a decline in rainfall of up to 14% per month. CSIRO Mk2 displayed the maximum decline in rainfall while HadCM3 depicted the maximum increase in temperature. The model is implemented in the Khurutshe of the Kgatleng District, Botswana. The results reported are for Masama Ranch and also for the whole of the Khurutshe area. The results show that climate change could lead to an annual increase of more than 20% in cattle water demand by 2050 due to an increase in temperature. In addition, climate change could lead to a decline in the contribution of surface pan water to cattle water supply. Overall, there could be an increase in abstraction of groundwater for cattle by 2050 due to an increase in demand and a decline in forage water content and surface pan water. Observations in semi-arid environments of Africa indicate that farmers encounter problems of declining borehole yields and local depletion in groundwater in summer and drought years when demand peaks. In addition, it has been observed that during drought more cattle are lost as a result of lack of water, particularly for those whose cattle are reliant on surface water. Thus, the results from this study indicate that climate change could enhance this problem. In the thesis I have shown the importance of integrating climate change impacts on water demand and supply when assessing water resources, which has been ignored in the past. Some of the policy options that are discussed are tradable pumping permits for controlling abstraction and allocation issues in the Khurutshe aquifer and, controlling stocking numbers. This is in recognition of the fact that climate change could result in more reliance on groundwater for both cattle farming and urban water supply hence compromising sustainability and allocation issues especially for the Khurutshe aquifer which is earmarked to supply the city of Gaborone and surrounding villages in drought periods.
Type of thesis
Masike, S. (2007). The impacts of climate change on cattle water demand and supply in Khurutshe, Botswana (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/2536
The University of Waikato
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