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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2015-84
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2015-84
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Submitted as: original research article 18 Jan 2016

Submitted as: original research article | 18 Jan 2016

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal SOIL (SOIL). The manuscript was not accepted for further review after discussion.

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

F. A. Zimale1, M. A. Mogus1, M. L. Alemu1, E. K. Ayana2,3, S. S. Demissie4, S. A. Tilahun2, and T. S. Steenhuis2,5 F. A. Zimale et al.
  • 1School of Civil and Water Resources Engineering, PhD program in Integrated Water Mana gement, Bahir Dar Institute of Technology, Bahir Dar University, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia
  • 2School of Civil and Water Resources Engineering, Bahir Dar Institute of Technology, Bahir Dar University, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia
  • 3Departmen t of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
  • 4Ethiopian Institute of Water Resources, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • 5Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA

Abstract. 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.

F. A. Zimale et al.
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F. A. Zimale et al.
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Short summary
Sediment impact on tropical lakes is not well known, because of lack of data. In this study we extent the limited available data by first modeling the hydrology with saturation excess model. Then based on the flow prediction we predict sediment concentrations and loads. We found that yearly over 90% of the 16 million ton (lower bound) or more likely 37 million ton generated in the 12,000 square km Lake Tana watershed in Ethiopia is trapped on the flood plains and in lake.
Sediment impact on tropical lakes is not well known, because of lack of data. In this study we...
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