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Assessing the Hydrological Conditions of the Usangu Wetlands in Tanzania

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DOI: 10.4236/jwarp.2011.312097    3,814 Downloads   6,916 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Although wetlands make up less than 10% of Tanzania, their “critical, life support, ecosystem services” sustain over 95% of lives, of wildlife and of livestock. They provide security as sources of food, water, energy, economy and livelihoods, therefore, the aim of this paper is to address the current hydrologic conditions of Usangu wetlands. Several approaches were used in the collection of data for analysis. Both primary and sec- ondary data was collected and analysed. The key finding shows that, the overall area of the Usangu Wetlands is divided into two main portions, the Eastern Wetland and the Western Wetland, the core wetland, the Ihefu Swamp varies between 30 and 65 km2, whereas the seasonally wetted areas varies between 260 and 1800 km2. Major perennial rivers which feed the Ihefu swamp in Usangu wetlands include Kimani, Mbalali, Ndembera and the Great Ruaha River. The contribution from Mbalali River ranges between 69.17% and 47.78%; from Ndembera River ranges between 25% and 13.83%; from Kimani River ranges between 25% and 8.33% and from Great Ruaha River contribution ranges 24.0% and 2.96%. The irrigated agriculture is most important as a user of water and impacts most heavily on wetlands. Abstraction of water for agriculture is leading to dried up rivers, falling ground water tables, salinated soil and polluted waterways.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

S. Mwakalila, "Assessing the Hydrological Conditions of the Usangu Wetlands in Tanzania," Journal of Water Resource and Protection, Vol. 3 No. 12, 2011, pp. 876-882. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2011.312097.

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