Articles | Volume 15, issue 3
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 15, 807–818, 2011
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-15-807-2011

Special issue: Climate, weather and hydrology of East African Highlands

Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 15, 807–818, 2011
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-15-807-2011

Research article 08 Mar 2011

Research article | 08 Mar 2011

Sediment management modelling in the Blue Nile Basin using SWAT model

G. D. Betrie1,2, Y. A. Mohamed1,2,3, A. van Griensven1, and R. Srinivasan4 G. D. Betrie et al.
  • 1UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, P.O. Box 3015, 2601DA Delft, The Netherlands
  • 2Delft University of Technology, P.O. Box 5048, 2600 GA Delft, The Netherlands
  • 3Hydraulic Research Station, Wad Medani, Sudan
  • 4Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA

Abstract. Soil erosion/sedimentation is an immense problem that has threatened water resources development in the Nile river basin, particularly in the Eastern Nile (Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt). An insight into soil erosion/sedimentation mechanisms and mitigation methods plays an imperative role for the sustainable water resources development in the region. This paper presents daily sediment yield simulations in the Upper Blue Nile under different Best Management Practice (BMP) scenarios. Scenarios applied in this paper are (i) maintaining existing conditions, (ii) introducing filter strips, (iii) applying stone bunds (parallel terraces), and (iv) reforestation. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) was used to model soil erosion, identify soil erosion prone areas and assess the impact of BMPs on sediment reduction. For the existing conditions scenario, the model results showed a satisfactory agreement between daily observed and simulated sediment concentrations as indicated by Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency greater than 0.83. The simulation results showed that applying filter strips, stone bunds and reforestation scenarios reduced the current sediment yields both at the subbasins and the basin outlets. However, a precise interpretation of the quantitative results may not be appropriate because some physical processes are not well represented in the SWAT model.