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Topography Impacts Hydrology in the Sub-Humid Ethiopian Highlands

Faculty of Civil and Water Resources Engineering, Bahir Dar Institute of Technology, Bahir Dar University, Bahir Dar P.O. Box 26, Ethiopia
Blue Nile Water Institute, Bahir Dar University, Bahir Dar P.O. Box 79, Ethiopia
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA
Institute of Disaster Risk Management and Food Security Studies, Bahir Dar University, Bahir Dar P.O. Box 5501, Ethiopia
Amhara Design and Supervision Works Enterprise (ADSWE), Bahir Dar P.O. Box 1921, Ethiopia
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
Laboratory for Applied Geology and Hydrogeology, Ghent University, Krijgslaan 281-S8, 9000 Gent, Belgium
Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Aizhong Ye and Karl-Erich Lindenschmidt
Water 2022, 14(2), 196;
Received: 29 October 2021 / Revised: 22 December 2021 / Accepted: 4 January 2022 / Published: 11 January 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydrology and Sedimentology of Hilly and Mountainous Landscapes)
Understanding the relationship between topography, hydrological processes, and runoff source areas is essential in engineering design, such as predicting floods and implementing effective watershed management practices. This relationship is not well defined in the highlands with a monsoon climate and needs further study. The objective of this study is to relate topographic position and hydrological response in tropical highlands. The research was conducted in the Debre Mawi watershed in the northwest sub-humid Ethiopian highlands. In the monsoon rain phase of 2017 and 2018, groundwater depth, infiltration rate, and surface runoff were monitored at the upslope, midslope, and downslope positions. Surface runoff rates were measured in farmer fields through distributed V-notch weirs as estimates of positional runoff. Average water table depths were 30 cm deep in the downslope regions and 95 cm in the upslope position. The water table depth affected the steady-state infiltration rate in the rain phase. It was high upslope (350 mm h−1), low midslope (49 mm h−1), and zero downslope. In 2017, the average runoff coefficients were 0.29 for the upslope and midslope and 0.73 downslope. Thus, topographic position affects all aspects of the watershed hydrology in the humid highlands and is critical in determining runoff response. View Full-Text
Keywords: Ethiopia; highlands; monsoon; distributed runoff; hydrological response; perched groundwater; infiltration; topography; watershed Ethiopia; highlands; monsoon; distributed runoff; hydrological response; perched groundwater; infiltration; topography; watershed
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Figure 1

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    Description: Experimental data (precipitation and discharge) collected from the nine fields in the Debra Mawi watershed in 2017 and 2018
MDPI and ACS Style

Mhiret, D.A.; Dersseh, M.G.; Guzman, C.D.; Dagnew, D.C.; Abebe, W.B.; Zimale, F.A.; Zaitchik, B.F.; Tilahun, S.A.; Walraevens, K.; Steenhuis, T.S. Topography Impacts Hydrology in the Sub-Humid Ethiopian Highlands. Water 2022, 14, 196.

AMA Style

Mhiret DA, Dersseh MG, Guzman CD, Dagnew DC, Abebe WB, Zimale FA, Zaitchik BF, Tilahun SA, Walraevens K, Steenhuis TS. Topography Impacts Hydrology in the Sub-Humid Ethiopian Highlands. Water. 2022; 14(2):196.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Mhiret, Demesew A., Minychl G. Dersseh, Christian D. Guzman, Dessalegn C. Dagnew, Wubneh B. Abebe, Fasikaw A. Zimale, Benjamin F. Zaitchik, Seifu A. Tilahun, Kristine Walraevens, and Tammo S. Steenhuis. 2022. "Topography Impacts Hydrology in the Sub-Humid Ethiopian Highlands" Water 14, no. 2: 196.

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