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

Authors: Gianbattista Bussi, Paul G. Whitehead, Li Jin, Meron T. Taye, Ellen Dyer, Feyera A. Hirpa, Yosef Abebe Yimer, and Katrina J. Charles

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.


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