Water Balance Analysis over the Niger Inland Delta-Mali: Spatio-Temporal Dynamics of the Flooded Area and Water Losses

Water Balance Analysis over the Niger Inland Delta-Mali: Spatio-Temporal Dynamics of the Flooded Area and Water Losses

Ibrahim, M., Wisser, D., Ali, A., Diekkrüger, B., Seidou, O., Mariko, A., & Afouda, A. (2017). Water Balance Analysis over the Niger Inland Delta-Mali: Spatio-Temporal Dynamics of the Flooded Area and Water Losses. Hydrology, 4(3), 40.

The Niger Inland Delta (NID) wetland comprises a large flooded area that plays an important role in the ecosystem services. This study provides a comprehensive understanding of the NID’s hydro-climatological functioning using water balance approach. After a clear description of the water budget’s elements specific to the NID catchment, a spatial and temporal dynamics of the annual flood across the NID over the period 2000–2009 was performed using data from satellite QuickSCAT and its associated sensor SeaWinds. The estimated areas were used along with observed discharge and remotely-sensed climatic data to quantitatively evaluate each water balance component. The results indicate: (i) a clear spatiotemporal of the flooded areas varied between 25,000 km2 in wet periods and 2000 km2 in dry periods; (ii) an average evapotranspiration loss of 17.31 km3 (43% of the total inflow) was assessed in the catchment; (iii) precipitation’s contribution to the NID’s budget totals 5.16 km3 (12.8% of the total inflow); and (iv) the contribution of return flow from irrigated fields totals 1.8 km3 (4.5% of the total inflow, among which 1.2 km3 are from Office du Niger) to the flooded areas, refined the NID’s water balance estimates. Knowledge gained on NID’s water balance analysis will be used to develop and calibrate hydrological models in the Niger Inland Delta of the basin.