The collective impacts of rapid urbanization, poor pollution management practices and insufficient sanitation infrastructure have driven the water quality deterioration in Little Akaki River (LAR), Ethiopia. Water quality modeling using QUAL2Kw was conducted in the LAR aimed at selecting the optimal water quality improvement and pollution load reduction approaches based on the evaluation of five scenarios: modification of point sources (PS) load (S1), modification of nonpoint sources (NPS) load (S2), simultaneous modification of PS and NPS load (S3), application of local oxygenators and fish passages using cascaded rock ramps (S4), and an integrated scenario (S5). Despite the evaluation of S1 resulting in an average load reduction of Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) (17.72%), PO4
-P (37.47%), NO3
-N (19.63%), the water quality objective (WQO) in LAR could not be attained. Similarly, though significant improvement of pollution load was found by S2 and S3 evaluation, it did not secure the permissible BOD and PO4
-P pollution load in the LAR. Besides, as part of an instream measure, a scenario evaluated using the application of rock ramps (S4) resulted in significant reduction of BOD load. All the individual scenarios were not successful and hence an integration of scenarios (S5) was evaluated in LAR that gave a relatively higher pollutant load reduction rate and ultimately was found a better approach to improve pollution loads in the river. In conclusion, pollution load management and control strategy integrally incorporating the use of source-based wastewater treatment, control of diffuse pollution sources through the application of best management practices and the application of instream measures such as the use of cascaded rock ramps could be a feasible approach for better river water quality management, pollution reduction, aquatic life protection and secure sustainable development in the LAR catchment.
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