Winfred Mbungu understands that watershed management is a challenging problem in developing countries, including his home country of Tanzania. There are increasing demands for resources, and the vulnerability of natural resources is accelerated by land use, groundcover changes, and climate changes. He is working on researching watershed management by providing tools for evaluating the effects of land use and climate scenarios based on water balance, water availability, erosion and landscape degradation, and agricultural production. The availability of this information will help resource managers effectively develop plans, be able to manage resources for sustainable environment, and increase agricultural production thereby ensuring food security. In support of his research, Mr. Mbungu was awarded a Borlaug LEAP fellowship in the Spring of 2014. Dr. Conrad Heatwole of Virginia Tech University and Dr. Tracy Baker of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), supervised his work and gave him greater insight into his methodology and .
Mr. Mbungu used a modeling approach to quantify the impacts of land use, groundcover, and climate change on water and sediment yield at the watershed scale. His research is organized around five specific objectives. The first involved designing and implementing a hydro-meteorological network using paired research watershed to characterize flows and sediment loads from the upstream watersheds. The second objective is to investigate spatial and temporal variability of hydro-meteorological variables and human induced activities and their impacts on water resources. The third step is to characterize and assess spatial and temporal changes in land use, cover, and land degradation in the study area and develop land use and cover scenarios. The fourth objective is to develop climate change scenarios for the study area and assess impacts of climate change on hydrology. The final step is to develop and evaluate spatially descriptive hydrology and sediment transport watershed models that will reflect surface and groundwater interaction and responsive to land use and climate variation in the watershed. Mr. Mbungu plans to complete his PhD in Land and Water Resources Engineering in 2016.