Water Management Model for the Niger River Basin

Level: International
Region: Africa
Tags: Agriculture | Economic instrument | Mitigation measure
Target audience: Environmental authorities | Farmers | Local government/municipalities | National government | Regional government | Water authorities | Water companies

The project was carried out by DHI in cooperation with BRLi. A decision-support system (DSS), including a river basin model, was developed primarily to support decisions on dam construction. The system is used to analyse the potential effect of major dams that have been proposed in different countries within the river basin to meet the increasing demands for town water supply, irrigation and hydropower. Long time series of rainfall runoff from the sub-catchments along the river were calculated on the basis of available precipitation data, covering also the persistent drought which occurred in the early 1980s. Special effort was taken to describe the hydrological processes in the inland delta in Mali, where much water is lost to evaporation during its slow progression through the delta. The model enables the countries and the Niger basin Authority to take informed decisions on the future development of the basin. In-depth training has been provided to selected Niger Basin Autority staff, and a dedicated user interface has been developed to enable model application for a larger group of stakeholders and to provide customised output for detailed analysis of results. 

An economic model was further developed to enable benefit-cost analysis of the scenarios. This included assessment of the economic benefits, such as the production of crops and power, as well as the impact on river navigation, the environment etc.

Results obtained

  • The DSS was applied independently by the NBA Niger Basin Authority both during and after the project. The construction of two major dams in the river basin was initiated shortly after the project.

Success factors

  • The DSS can now clearly predict the consequences of possible developments in the catchment. Independent application of the tools. by counterpart staff.

Indicators used

  • Applicability of DSS results as a basis for decision on dam construction. Capability of local staff to apply the system.

The DSS and modelling tools are general and can be applied to any river basin.

Total costs:

  • DKK 5500 000


Hans Christian Ammentorp – hca@dhigroup.com