Blue Nile Hydrosolidarity

Hydrology of the Abbay/Blue Nile

PhD research project by Sirak Tekleab


The Blue Nile River basin covers the eastern Nile countries Ethiopia and Sudan. The problems like overgrazing, deforestation, improper farming practices in the Ethiopian highlands cause soil erosion, loss of soil fertility, reduced infiltration and eventually lead to a change in the runoff regime. Besides, the hydrology of the basin is not yet known in depth and lacks scientific researches, which interlinked various hydrological processes in the basin.

To alleviate these problems, a better understanding of the heterogeneity of the spatial and temporal variability of climatic inputs, topography, geology, soil and vegetation and its impacts on hydrological processes are crucial. For instance, the prediction of extreme events like floods, droughts and water quality extremes can not be done without deep understanding of the heterogeneity of the catchment responses at various scales including its controls.

The methodology that will be adopted encompasses, hydrological process understanding using, on the one hand, a top-down approach, including learning from data to arrive at more parsimonious model by testing hypothesis and trying to understand the key process at different scales. On the other hand, a bottom-up approach will be followed to regionalize experimental findings from the plot to the micro-catchment scale, catchment scale and, finally, to the watershed scale using different techniques. Therefore, the research aims to understand and characterize the hydrology of Blue Nile River basin in both time and space domain. Furthermore, it will try to addresses the impacts of improved farming practices in the Upper Blue Nile on hydrology of the basin at different scales.


Tekleab, S., Y. Mohamed, S. Uhlenbrook, J. Wenninger, 2013. Hydrologic responses to land cover change: the case of Jedeb mesoscale catchment, Abay/Upper Blue Nile basin, Ethiopia. Hydrological Processes. doi:
Tekleab,S., Uhlenbrook,S. Mohamed,Y., Savenije,H.H.G., Temesgen,M. and Wenninger,J. (2011). Water balance Modelling of upper Blue Nile catchments using top down approach. Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 15, 2179–2193, DOI:
Tekleab, S., Y. Mohamed, S. Uhlenbrook, 2013. Hydro-climatic trends in the Abay/Upper Blue Nile basin, Ethiopia. Physics and Chemistry if the Earth Vol 61-62, pp. 32-42, doi:


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