Environmental Earth Sciences

, 78:687 | Cite as

Estimating groundwater recharge on the southern slope of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

  • Zuberi D. LwimboEmail author
  • Hans C. Komakech
  • Alfred N. N. Muzuka
Original Article


This paper used three methods namely: water-table fluctuation (WTF), soil moisture balance (SMB), and chloride mass balance (CMB) to estimate groundwater recharge in a degraded Kahe catchment located on the southern slope of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Three methods yielded different groundwater recharge rates. Results of the WTF method showed that recharge in the catchment was about 248.4 million m3/year, whereas those of CMB and SMB methods were 156.0 and 132.1 million m3/year, respectively. The estimated recharge rates ranged between 132.1 and 248.4 million m3/year with an average of 191.34 ± 27.80 million m3/year. Differences in the estimated rates can be attributed to the scales of measurements, assumptions in each method, and the quality of the data used. Satellite images taken in between 2000 and 2017 were used to estimate the land-use changes and their impacts on groundwater recharge in the study catchment. Analyzed satellite images showed that over the 17-year period, natural forests and bushes and shrubs decreased by 3.6 and 4.1%, while agricultural land and built-up area increased by 12.8 and 0.8%, respectively. Using SMB method, we found that these land-use changes have contributed to a decrease in groundwater recharge of about 42% between 2000 and 2017 (i.e., from 227.8 to 132.1 million m3/year). The findings from this study are useful for assessing the potential impacts of land-use change on water resources in the catchment.


Water-table fluctuation Soil moisture balance Chloride mass balance Groundwater recharge Land-use change Tanzania 



The authors acknowledge the support offered by the Pangani Basin water office (PBWO) and Moshi district councils during field work for data collection. This research was funded by the Centre for Water Infrastructure and Sustainable Energy Futures (WISE-Futures), one of the East and Southern African Centres of Excellence initiated by the World Bank and hosted by the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology, Arusha.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zuberi D. Lwimbo
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Hans C. Komakech
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alfred N. N. Muzuka
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Material Energy Water and Environmental Science (MEWES), Department of Water Environmental Science and Engineering (WESE)The Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and TechnologyArushaTanzania
  2. 2.WISE-Futures: Centre for Water Infrastructure and Sustainable Energy FuturesThe Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and TechnologyArushaTanzania
  3. 3.Department of Civil EngineeringArdhi UniversityDar es SalaamTanzania

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