A review of coupled hydrologic-hydraulic models for floodplain assessments in Africa

Opportunities and challenges for floodplain wetland management

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Floodplain wetlands are a fundamental part of the African continent’s ecosystem and serve as habitat for fish and wildlife species, biodiversity, and micro-organisms that support life. It is generally recognised that wetlands are and remain fragile ecosystems that should be subject to sustainable conservation and management through the use of sustainable tools. In this paper, we propose a synthesis of the state of art concerning coupled hydrologic and hydraulic models for floodplains assessments in Africa. Case studies reviewed in this paper have pointed out the potential of applying coupled hydrologic and hydraulic models and the opportunities present to be used in Africa especially for data scarce and large basin for floodplain assessments through the use of available open access models, coupling frameworks and remotely sensed datasets. To our knowledge this is the first case study review of this kind on this topic. A Hydrological model coupled with Hydraulic Model of the floodplain provides improvements in floodplain model simulations and hence better information for floodplain management. Consequently, this would lead to improved decision-making and planning of adaption and mitigation measures for sound floodplain wetland management plans and programmes especially with the advent of climate change and variability.