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Assessment of sediment accumulation in a topographically closed highland lake: the case of lake hashenge, northern ethiopia

Author: 
Shimbahri Mesfin Gebreslase
Subject Area: 
Life Sciences
Abstract: 

Ethiopia is endowed with 22 lakes and many reservoir water resources that can be developed and utilized for the wellbeing of the people. However, improper human interference exerted pressure on lakes, reservoirs and rivers draining into them. Lake Hashenge one of the lakes is suffering from excessive sediment loads that have been caused by deforestation, soil erosion, land use change and improper watershed management. The main objectives of the study were to characterize Hashenge catchment, estimate annual sediment accumulation in the lake and estimate the life span of the lake. Hashenge catchment was characterized using field GPS data and topographic maps. Bulk density of the sediment accumulated in the lake was done in a laboratory. Annual sediment yield in the lake was estimated by using HR Wallingford method based on a catchment characterization procedure which combines qualitative factors describing soil type, vegetation cover and signs of active erosion and quantitative information on slopes, rainfall and catchment area. The result revealed that different maps (to develop different maps like location map, drainage map, land use/cover map, texture map, slope map and altitude map) were developed and an annual sediment yield of 45,865 ton or (6.9 ton ha-1 year-1) is accumulated in the lake every year. The average bulk density of the sediment accumulated in the lake was found to be 1,725 kg/m3. The volume of sediment accumulated in the lake every year would, therefore, be 26,588.4 m3. The corresponding average annual depth of sediment deposition in the lake was estimated to be 3.5 mm. The annual sediment yield observed in this study was found to be comparable with studies conducted in reservoir sediment assessment in the other parts of the region. If the sediment accumulation continues like the current situation, the lake could completely be disappeared after 5,714 years.

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