The interface between Land use, microclimate, water quality and human health in the Rokel-Seli River basin, Sierra Leone

Authors: Cyril Wilson*, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Topics: Water Resources and Hydrology, Medical and Health Geography, Land Use and Land Cover Change
Keywords: Land use/land cover, water quality, human health, Rokel-Seli basin, Sierra Leone
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Roosevelt 6, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Modifications to land use/land cover (LULC) and climate affects fresh water resources at both surface and ground level with potential negative implications for human health. This impact might be more severe in the most vulnerable areas of the developing world such as Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) where current and immediate past socioecological and economic conditions have not been favorable for water supply, water quality, and human health. Very little is currently known about the ramifications of LULC, microclimate, and water quality linkages on human health especially in SSA. This study employed a mixed modeling approach by integrating (i) geospatial technologies of remote sensing and spatial hydrologic modeling together with (ii) qualitative analysis of social survey conducted in the basin to evaluate the role of LULC change, microclimate, and surface water quality on human health in the Rokel-Seli River basin, Sierra Leone. The Rokel-Seli River is the longest and one of the most important rivers in the country supporting a major hydroelectric dam, a plethora of agricultural activities, gold, and iron ore mining. LULC information was derived from Landsat-5 and Landsat-8 satellite images; a hydrologic water quality model was constructed to evaluate the impacts of changes in LULC and microclimate on surface water quality. Statistical models were developed to understand the role of changes in LULC, microclimate, and surface water quality on human health. Results of this study demonstrates significant relationships between the aforementioned components and the health of residents within the basin.

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