JWARP  Vol.10 No.2 , February 2018
Low Flow Trends and Frequency Analysis in the Blue Nile Basin, Ethiopia
Abstract: Low flow analysis provides crucial information for the planning and design water resource development, risk assessment and environmental flow management. Understanding the low flow regimes and evaluating the magnitudes for incorporating in water resources management is vital for the countries like Ethiopia where demand for water is increasing. However, there were hardly enough studies in understanding the trends of low flow and frequency analysis. Therefore, this study focuses on evaluation of the trends in low flows and regional low flow analysis in the Blue Nile Basin, Ethiopia. In order to carry out the study, 15 river sub-basins in the Blue Nile Basin were selected based on the long term data availability and presence of quality of data. The 3-day sustained low flow (3d-slf), the 7-day sustained low flow (7d-slf) and the 14-day sustained low flow (14d-slf) models were used to extract the data from the daily time series stream data obtained from MoWIE. Trends in low flow were analyzed separately by using Mann-Kendall (MK) trend test. Low flow frequency analysis was used to estimate the long term low flow quantiles. In addition, regional analysis for estimating the quantiles for ungaged catchments was also developed based on the regional growth curve and catchment characteristic of drainage basins. The results indicated that 3d-slf, 7d-slf and 14d-slf models of low flow series indicated no significant difference for each station at 95% CI. Out of the 15 selected stations, 12 of stations have indicated decreasing; two stations indicated increasing and remaining one station with no trend. Mainly decreasing trend was associated with the land cover and climate change which results in increasing runoff and evapotranspiration respectively. Weibull distribution—GEV and LGN was found best fit based on the L-Moment Ratio Diagram (L-MRD). Hence quantile estimations have indicated diminishing magnitudes of low flow quintiles for 2 - 500 years return periods. Regional low frequency analysis has provided a very good relationship between discharge and catchment characteristics with an R2 of 0.72. Where area (A) and rainfall (R) followed by slope were found sensitive to compute in developing the regional region equations between mean low flows and the physiographic data. This study indicated that there needs to be a new water management scenario and adaptation mechanism of climate change and land use land cover dynamics for utilizing water resource in the Blue Nile Basin.
Cite this paper: Assefa, K. , Moges, M. (2018) Low Flow Trends and Frequency Analysis in the Blue Nile Basin, Ethiopia. Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 10, 182-203. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2018.102011.

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