Calculating the sediment budget of a tropical lake in the Blue Nile basin: Lake Tana

Other literature type English OPEN
Zimale, F. A. ; Mogus, M. A. ; Alemu, M. L. ; Ayana, E. K. ; Demissie, S. S. ; Tilahun, S. A. ; Steenhuis, T. S. (2016)

Soil erosion decreases soil fertility of the uplands and causes siltation of lakes and reservoirs. However, very little data exists to quantify accurately the impact of sediment on lakes in tropical monsoonal areas in the African highlands. Lake Tana is one of these lakes in Ethiopia. The objective of this study is to quantify the sediment budget for Lake Tana watershed with limited observational data. To overcome these limitations we use the Parameter Efficient Distributed (PED) model that has shown to perform well in the Ethiopian highlands. PED model parameters are calibrated using daily discharge data and sediment concentration infrequently measured for establishing sediment rating curves for the major rivers. The calibrated model parameters are then used to predict the sediment budget for the period 1994–2009. Sediment retained in the lake is calculated from two bathymetric taken 15 years apart and the sediment leaving the lake is based on measured discharge and observed sediment concentrations. Results show that annually on average 34 Mg/ha/year of sediment is removed from the gauged part of the Lake Tana watersheds. Depending on the up scaling method, 14 to 32 Mg/ha/year is transported from the watershed of which 82% to 96% (with the upper estimate more likely) is trapped on the floodplains and in the lake.
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