Climate Risk Case Study - Hydro - Zambia


Hydropower projects may be highly sensitive to climate change impacts. Water flows used by a project may be affected not only by changes in the hydrologic cycle, but also by climate related changes in the upstream water use, such as increased use of water for human consumption, agriculture, industry, or biodiversity maintenance. At the same time, the demand for electricity may also change due to climate change effects, such as increased temperatures. All these aspects can affect the performance of a project and point to the need of assessing a broader range of climate related economic, social and environmental factors in the analyses.

In order to develop initial approaches to analyses of these factors and their significance to performance of hydropower projects, this study analyzes the KGL HP project in the Kafue basin in Zambia. Major components of the study include development of downscaled temperature and precipitation projections for the basin, modeling of hydrologic flows in the Kafue river, modeling of corresponding reservoir and energy outputs, analyses of financial implications, and considerations of natural hazards and other uses of water in the study area.

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