Effects of Soil and Water Conservation Practices on Runoff, Soil and Nutrient Losses in Alekt Wenz Watershed, Ethiopian Highland

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering book series (LNICST, volume 274)


Land degradation caused by soil erosion is a serious problem in northwestern Ethiopian highlands. To reduce the adverse impact of land degradation, soil and water conservation (SWC) measures were implemented. The presented study investigated the hydrological responses of SWC measures implemented in two nested watersheds situated in the northwestern Ethiopian highland. Rainfall, streamflow, sediment concentration, and sediment-associated and dissolved nutrient of N and P for 2015 and 2016 rainy periods were collected and analyzed. The watersheds received 665 mm in 2015 and 795 mm rainfall in 2016 from May to September. The median infiltration rates for treated and untreated watershed were 22 mm hr−1, and 19 mm hr−1 respectively. The direct runoff from treated watershed was 8.5 mm yr−1 for 2015 and 9.6 mm yr−1 for 2016. This is lower than the untreated watershed, which responded 17.3 mm yr−1 for 2015 and 15.3 mm yr−1 for 2016. The base flow from treated watershed was 180.7 mm yr−1 for 2015 and 212 mm yr−1 for 2016. It was higher than the untreated watershed, which responded 69.8 mm yr−1 for 2015 and 195.4 mm yr−1 for 2016. This figure shows that implemented SWC measures reduced the runoff responses by two-fold. Similarly, the SWC measures reduced sediment yield. The sediment yield from treated watershed was 2.4 ton ha−1yr−1 and 2.1 ton ha−1yr−1 in the year 2015 and 2016, respectively. This is lower than the untreated watershed that lost 6 ton ha−1yr−1 and 8.5 ton ha−1yr−1 in the year 2015 and 2016, respectively. The effectiveness of the SWC measures between the two watersheds was statistically significant with a significance level of 5%. However, it is important to investigate the long-term effects of SWC in reducing soil and nutrient losses.


Erosion Nutrient depletion Runoff Sediment yield Soil and Water Conservation Treated Untreated 



This research was made possible through support provided by CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystem’s, East Africa focal regional program. Additional funding was also obtained from the Ethiopian Road Authority (ERA).


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Copyright information

© ICST Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Hydraulic and Water Resources Engineering, Institute of TechnologyUniversity of GondarGondarEthiopia
  2. 2.School of Civil and Water Resources EngineeringBahir Dar UniversityBahir DarEthiopia
  3. 3.Department of Natural Resource ManagementBahir Dar UniversityBahir DarEthiopia
  4. 4.International Water Management Institute (IWMI)Addis AbabaEthiopia

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