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Article

Impacts of Climate Change and Population Growth on River Nutrient Loads in a Data Scarce Region: The Upper Awash River (Ethiopia)

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School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3QY, UK
2
Geology Department, State University of New York College at Cortland, Cortland, NY 13045, USA
3
Water and Land Resources Centre, Addis Ababa University, P.O. Box 20474/1000 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
4
AWASH Basin Development Authority, P.O. Box 20474/1000 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Subhasis Giri
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1254; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031254
Received: 18 December 2020 / Revised: 20 January 2021 / Accepted: 22 January 2021 / Published: 25 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Quality Management in the Changing Environment)
Assessing the impact of climate change and population growth on river water quality is a key issue for many developing countries, where multiple and often conflicting river water uses (water supply, irrigation, wastewater disposal) are placing increasing pressure on limited water resources. However, comprehensive water quality datasets are often lacking, thus impeding a full-scale data-based river water quality assessment. Here we propose a model-based approach, using both global datasets and local data to build an evaluation of the potential impact of climate changes and population growth, as well as to verify the efficiency of mitigation measures to curb river water pollution. The upper Awash River catchment in Ethiopia, which drains the city of Addis Ababa as well as many agricultural areas, is used as a case-study. The results show that while decreases in runoff and increases in temperature due to climate change are expected to result in slightly decreased nutrient concentrations, the largest threat to the water quality of the Awash River is population growth, which is expected to increase nutrient loads by 15 to 20% (nitrate) and 30 to 40% (phosphorus) in the river by the second half of the 21st century. Even larger increases are to be expected downstream of large urban areas, such as Addis Ababa. However, improved wastewater treatment options are shown to be efficient in counteracting the negative impact of population growth and returning water pollution to acceptable levels. View Full-Text
Keywords: water quality; climate change; population growth; Awash River; Ethiopia water quality; climate change; population growth; Awash River; Ethiopia
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MDPI and ACS Style

Bussi, G.; Whitehead, P.G.; Jin, L.; Taye, M.T.; Dyer, E.; Hirpa, F.A.; Yimer, Y.A.; Charles, K.J. Impacts of Climate Change and Population Growth on River Nutrient Loads in a Data Scarce Region: The Upper Awash River (Ethiopia). Sustainability 2021, 13, 1254. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031254

AMA Style

Bussi G, Whitehead PG, Jin L, Taye MT, Dyer E, Hirpa FA, Yimer YA, Charles KJ. Impacts of Climate Change and Population Growth on River Nutrient Loads in a Data Scarce Region: The Upper Awash River (Ethiopia). Sustainability. 2021; 13(3):1254. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031254

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bussi, Gianbattista, Paul G. Whitehead, Li Jin, Meron T. Taye, Ellen Dyer, Feyera A. Hirpa, Yosef A. Yimer, and Katrina J. Charles 2021. "Impacts of Climate Change and Population Growth on River Nutrient Loads in a Data Scarce Region: The Upper Awash River (Ethiopia)" Sustainability 13, no. 3: 1254. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031254

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