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Downstream consequences of Ribb River Damming, Lake Tana Basin, Ethiopia

  • 16 December, 2021
  • 15.00-17.00
  • IHE Delft, Water Resources and Ecosystems
  • Prof. Michael McClain
  • Dr. Alessandra Crosato

This study assessed the downstream river system adaptation in response to upstream damming on the Ribb River, Ethiopia, to irrigate 15,000 ha. It combined primary and secondary data, and the application of remote sensing and mathematical modeling. The pre-dam morphodynamic trends of the Ribb River were analyzed for 59 years based on aerial photographs, satellite images, and newly collected field data. Three dam operation scenarios were developed to analyze the long-term hydro-morphological effects of the dam on the downstream river reaches. It also assessed the applicability of physics-based analytical equations (Equilibrium Theory) compared to a 1D numerical model (SOBEK-RE) to determine the least-morphologically impactful dam operation scenario on the river reaches downstream of the dam. Moreover, a HEC-RAS 2D hydrodynamic model was developed to assess the effect of the dam on the flooding extent of the Fogera Plain. This was used to study the potential implications of hydrological alteration on the ecology of the floodplain wetlands, as they are the habitats of important fish and bird species. The results contribute to knowledge on the hydro-morphological and environmental impacts of dams on downstream river systems. The developed methodologies and findings may be used to study future hydro-morphological and ecological changes that may arise due to other dam operations or climate change.


Chalachew Abebe Mulatu

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