Spatial Information Research

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 151–167 | Cite as

Evaluating the impacts of climate and land use/land cover (LU/LC) dynamics on the Hydrological Responses of the Upper Blue Nile in the Central Highlands of Ethiopia

  • Moges Kidane
  • Terefe TolessaEmail author
  • Alemu Bezie
  • Nega Kessete
  • Mahammed Endrias


This study integrates GIS and SWAT model to evaluate impacts of climate and LU/LC change on watershed hydrological dynamics. To evaluate the impact of a combined and individual climate and LU/LC dynamics on stream flow, series of simulation were computed by changing climate and LU/LC variables. The model was calibrated and validated against observed data. Statistical measures like coefficient of determination and Nash–Sutcliffe were used to evaluate the model and it results in 0.82 and 0.82 for calibration and 0.81 and 0.80 for validation respectively. During the study period, forest and shrub land decreased by 38% and 48% while, settlement and cultivated land increased by 572% and 7% respectively. Mann–Kendall trend test analysis showed a significant trend in maximum and minimum temperature at 5% significant level, whereas there were three no trend cases for rainfall out of four tested cases and one non-significant decreasing trend. The simulated flow showed a very good agreement with the observed flow data with 0.82 and 0.82 for calibration and 0.81 and 0.80 for validation respectively. Simulation result indicted that LU/LC change increased the wet season flow by 14.5% while decreasing by 9.65% in dry season. In wet season the flow increased by 4.5% while decreased by 3.3% in dry season because of change in climate and seasonal variability. The study showed the increase in stream flows can be directly attributed to the expansion of cultivated lands at a cost of the forested vegetation.


Guder watershed SWAT LULC Blue Nile Stream flow 



We would like to acknowledge Ambo University Research (Grant No. AMBO-1215) and Community Office for their funding (full financial supports) of this project and providing an official assistance. We also sincerely acknowledge the Department of Natural Resource Management, for giving field work facilities; Ethiopian Ministry of Water Resources, Ethiopian Meteorological Agency, National Meteorology Agency (NMA), for supporting the study by providing hydrological, meteorological data and Satellite image data. The research team is very thankful to Dr.Ermiyas Habte (College of agriculture research and community service team leader) for his support in facilitating this work throughout the study period. We thank the anonymous reviewer for his (her) very constructive remarks and suggestions.


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© Korean Spatial Information Society 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Agriculture and Veterinary ScienceAmbo UniversityAmboEthiopia
  2. 2.Institute of Cooperatives and Development StudiesAmbo UniversityAmboEthiopia

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