Analysis of spatial and temporal trend of hydro-climatic parameters in the Kilombero River Catchment, Tanzania

Sci Rep. 2023 May 15;13(1):7864. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-35105-8.


Inadequate knowledge on actual water availability, have raised social-economic conflicts that necessitate proper water management. This requires a better understanding of spatial-temporal trends of hydro-climatic variables as the main contributor to available water for use by sectors of economy. The study has analysed the trend of hydro-climatic variables viz. precipitation, temperature, evapotranspiration and river discharge. One downstream river gauge station was used for discharge data whereas a total of 9 daily observed and 29 grided satellite stations were used for climate data. Climate Hazards Group InfraRed Precipitation was used for precipitation data and Observational-Reanalysis Hybrid was used for Temperature data. Mann-Kendall Statistical test, Sen's slope estimator and ArcMap Inverse Distance Weighted Interpolation functionality were employed for temporal, magnitude and spatial trend analysis respectively. Results confirmed that, spatially, there are three main climatic zones in the study area viz. Udzungwa escarpment, Kilombero valley and Mahenge escarpment. On temporal analysis, with exception of the declining potential evapotranspiration trend, all other variables are on increase. This is with catchment rates of 2.08 mm/year, 0.05 °C/year, 0.02 °C/year, 498.6 m3/s/year and - 2.27 mm/year for precipitation, Tmax, Tmin, river discharge and PET respectively. Furthermore, rainfalls start late by a month (November) while temperatures picks earlier by September and October for Tmax and Tmin respectively. Water availability matches farming season. However, it is recommended to improve water resources management practices to limit flow impairment as expansions in sectors of economy are expected. Furthermore, landuse change analysis is recommended to ascertain actual trend and hence future water uptake.