Kenya fieldwork location for MSc Hydrology students

Why study MSc Hydrology at the Vrije Universiteit?

19 February 2016

The Hydrology master combines thorough training scientific methods that are needed to research and understand water related questions (hydrology and economy). This is achieved by classroom lectures and practicals and through hands on field instructions where the learned knowledge is applied. The master uses themes and challenges in teaching, that are important for a wide range of stakeholders, as for example flood and drought risk. This makes the master attractive for students that want to contribute to solving water related problems in Europe and beyond.

Dr Ralph Lasage told us more about the planning and setup of this new field site in Kenya. He holds a PhD on community based adaptation in water management. In the Hydrology master he coordinates the ‘Measuring Techniques in Hydrology’ course and he supervises thesis research. He is also the coordinator of the Kenya field research site.

Plans and setup for Kenya fieldwork

Water is a scarce resource in arid and semi-arid regions, hence water management is of key importance. At the VU we have extensive experience on this topic and we use this in our teaching. One of the possibilities we offer to students is to conduct field research in Kenya, where we have been studying water harvesting systems since 2005.

At the premises of the local university we will establish a field  measurement site to measure meteorological factors relevant for calculating evapotranspiration. Here we will also study the functioning of different water harvesting systems through field experiments and measurements (e.g. stored water in a reservoir or in the soil). During this field work the knowledge from, for instance, the Luxemburg fieldwork will be applied.

On basis of field data computer models will be developed, which will be used to test the functioning of the specific water harvesting technique using long year datasets, and using different climate change scenarios. Also the potential improvement of agricultural production due to water harvesting can be modelled too. Besides the hydrological measuring and modelling, students can also research the effects of water harvesting systems on the local community and household, by performing surveys.

AWS_Kitui2_Ralph Lasage

Published by  IBED Water