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Hydrological Response to Climate Change for Gilgel Abay River, in the Lake Tana Basin - Upper Blue Nile Basin of Ethiopia
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm Environment Institute.
2013 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 8, no 10, e79296- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Climate change is likely to have severe effects on water availability in Ethiopia. The aim of the present study was to assess the impact of climate change on the Gilgel Abay River, Upper Blue Nile Basin. The Statistical Downscaling Tool (SDSM) was used to downscale the HadCM3 (Hadley centre Climate Model 3) Global Circulation Model (GCM) scenario data into finer scale resolution. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) was set up, calibrated, and validated. SDSM downscaled climate outputs were used as an input to the SWAT model. The climate projection analysis was done by dividing the period 2010-2100 into three time windows with each 30 years of data. The period 1990-2001 was taken as the baseline period against which comparison was made. Results showed that annual mean precipitation may decrease in the first 30-year period but increase in the following two 30-year periods. The decrease in mean monthly precipitation may be as much as about -30% during 2010-2040 but the increase may be more than +30% in 2070-2100. The impact of climate change may cause a decrease in mean monthly flow volume between -40% to -50% during 2010-2040 but may increase by more than the double during 2070-2100. Climate change appears to have negligible effect on low flow conditions of the river. Seasonal mean flow volume, however, may increase by more than the double and +30% to +40% for the Belg (small rainy season) and Kiremit (main rainy season) periods, respectively. Overall, it appears that climate change will result in an annual increase in flow volume for the Gilgel Abay River. The increase in flow is likely to have considerable importance for local small scale irrigation activities. Moreover, it will help harnessing a significant amount of water for ongoing dam projects in the Gilgel Abay River Basin.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 8, no 10, e79296- p.
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-96883DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079296ISI: 000326152300091OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-96883DiVA: diva2:667971
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Note

AuthorCount:3;

Available from: 2013-11-28 Created: 2013-11-28 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Intensifying Agricultural Water Management in the Tropics: A cause of water shortage or a source of resilience?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Intensifying Agricultural Water Management in the Tropics: A cause of water shortage or a source of resilience?
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Frequent climatic shocks have presented challenges for rainfed agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa. Appropriate water management practices are among the solutions to the challenges. The role of water harvesting in achieving sustainable agricultural intensification and specified resilience was explored. Suitable areas for water harvesting in the Upper Blue Nile basin were identified. The usefulness of the Curve Number method for surface runoff estimation was evaluated, and was found to perform satisfactorily. The impact of climate change in the Lake Tana sub-basin was studied. A decision support system was developed for locating and sizing of water harvesting ponds in the SWAT model. Methodological developments enabled analysis of the implications of water harvesting intensification in a meso-scale watershed in the Lake Tana sub-basin.

Results suggest that water harvesting can increase agricultural productivity, sustain ecosystems and build specified resilience, and thereby contribute to sustainable agricultural intensification. There is considerable potential for water harvesting in the Upper Blue Nile Basin. Rainfall may increase in the Lake Tana sub-basin due to climate change. Supplementary irrigation from water harvesting ponds and better nutrient application increased staple crop production by up to three-fold. Moreover, a substantial amount of cash crop was produced using dry seasonal irrigation. Water harvesting altered the streamflow regime, and reduced sediment loss from the watershed.      

Water harvesting can play an important role in food security. It showed potential to buffer climatic variability. In the watershed studied, water harvesting will not compromise the environmental water requirements. Instead, increased low flows, and reduced flooding and sediment loss may benefit the social-ecological systems. The adverse effects of disturbance of the natural flow variability and sediment influx to certain riverine ecosystems warrant detailed investigation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, 2014. 67 p.
Keyword
Water harvesting, Climate change, Climate variability, Multi criteria evaluation, SWAT, CN, sub-Saharan Africa, Upper Blue Nile, Lake Tana basin
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
Research subject
Natural Resources Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-102878 (URN)978-91-7447-914-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-06-04, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
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Supervisors
Projects
Water resources management and social-ecological resilience
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Formas
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript. Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 5: Epub ahead of print. Paper 6: Manuscript.

Available from: 2014-05-13 Created: 2014-04-24 Last updated: 2014-09-30Bibliographically approved

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