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Lakes & Reservoirs: Research and Management 2008 13: 325–343

Blackwell Publishing Asia Original Article

Assessment of lake–groundwater interactions and


Numerical groundwater flow models

anthropogenic stresses, using numerical groundwater flow


model, for a Rift lake catchment in central Ethiopia
Tenalem Ayenew1* and Nardos Tilahun2
1
Department of Earth Sciences, Addis Ababa University, PO Box, 1176, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 2Department of Applied
Geology, Arba Minch University, PO Box 21, Arba Minch, Ethiopia

Abstract
A steady-state groundwater flow model (MODFLOW) was used to study lake and groundwater interactions in a complex rift
volcanic catchment. It also was used to assess the effects of water pumping from wells, and of variable recharge rates
associated with climate and lake level changes, on the dynamics of the volcanic aquifers surrounding Lake Awassa.
The model simulations were made after first developing a reasonable conceptual model, on the basis of conventional
hydrogeological mapping, pumping test and hydrometeorological data analyses, and from ancillary information obtained
from hydrochemical and isotope techniques. The model results indicated that the lakes and Rift aquifers are fed by large
groundwater inputs that originate in the highlands. The lakes and rivers have important roles in recharging the aquifers in
some locations. Lake Awassa receives a major groundwater inflow from its southern and eastern shorelines, while
substantial water leakage from the lake occurs along the northern shoreline. The annual groundwater outflow from the
catchment is estimated to 52.5 × 106 m3. Scenario analyses revealed that increasing the current pumping rate from wells by
fourfold will substantially reduce the groundwater level substantially, although the regional flow pattern would remain the
same. There appears to be no immediate danger to the Rift aquatic environment from the current water pumping rate.
Drying the small Lake Shalo and associated swamps, however, will cause a large change in the water balance of the larger
Lake Awassa. Slight changes in groundwater recharge can cause large differences in groundwater levels for most of the Rift
caldera floor far from the lake shores. This study provides a reasonable foundation for developing detailed transient
predictive models, which can then readily be used as a decision support tool for development and implementation of
sustainable water resources practices.

Key words
anthropogenic stresses, Awassa, Ethiopian Rift, groundwater, hydrology, modelling.

INTRODUCTION These packages include: (i) river and drain (Harbaugh


The interactions of groundwater and surface waters are a & McDonald 1996); (ii) reservoir (Fenske et al. 1996): (iii)
common issue in groundwater modelling. Other than the stream routing (Prudic 1989); (iv) evapotranspiration; and
regular recharge from precipitation, groundwater also (v) lake (Council 1999). These different packages, which
receives from, or discharges to, surface waters (e.g. lakes, were developed at different times, have significantly
reservoirs, rivers). Several computer programmes have improved our capability to solve practical problems linking
been developed to integrate groundwater with surface groundwater and surface waters.
water in an attempt to quantify the interactions between Numerical groundwater flow models were effectively
them. Among the most popular software for such purposes used to study regional groundwater dynamics in the
is the model, MODFLOW, which simulates such Ethiopian Rift and adjacent highlands (Ayenew 2001).
interactions using different incorporated packages (modules). Groundwater flow models also have played an important
role in evaluating alternative approaches for groundwater
*Corresponding author. Email: tenalema@yahoo.com management in the volcanic aquifers of central Ethiopia
Accepted for publication 25 August 2008. (AAWSA 2000; Ebasa 2006; Ayenew et al. 2008). However,

© 2008 The Authors


Doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1770.2008.00383.x Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd
326 T. Ayenew and N. Tilahun

because of limited hydrogeological data, however, it is A major concern in recent years in the lake basin is
difficult to develop three-dimensional transient models land use changes, and associated increasing water use.
readily usable as groundwater management tools. Effective Anthropogenic activities that affect one or more components
utilization of such models requires development of good of the hydrological cycle will affect the complex hydraulic
conceptual hydrogeological models, and the availability of relationships in the basin, and its fragile lacustrine
high-resolution time-series data. Nevertheless, steady-state environment. None of the previous studies addressed the
models such as the one considered in this study can interactions of groundwater and surface waters, or the
provide a reliable foundation, as well as useful information effect of anthropogenic influences on the basin’s subsurface
on the relative importance of the various components of hydrodynamics. Scenario analyses involving groundwater
the groundwater budget, as well as the likely influence of pumping rates, and detailed groundwater balances, have
changes in groundwater and surface water fluxes. never been carried out. Only the net groundwater outflow
The model simulations in this study were based on an from the catchment has been estimated, using a
accurate, pertinent database developed by conventional spreadsheet hydrological model (Ayenew & Gebree-
hydrogeological mapping and water balance studies. gziabher 2006). Interest in using hydrological modelling to
Compared to many catchments in the Main Ethiopian Rift analyse this issue has been driven by a desire to estimate
(MER), the Awassa catchment has better hydrogeological the net groundwater outflows, but without accounting for
data. This factor facilitates the analysis of the hydrodynamics the spatial variability of water fluxes within the catchment.
of the area, which has well-defined boundary conditions. To this end, groundwater outflow sites in the catchment
Because of the lack of time series and spatially well- were identified from geothermal boreholes (UNDP 1973),
distributed borehole data, however, the simulations are isotope techniques (Darling et al. 1996; Ayenew 1998),
made under steady-state conditions, by giving more hydrogeological mapping and geophysical exploration
emphasis to the Rift floor’s lacustrine environment. (Dessie & Tessema 2003).
Several studies were carried out in the area over the last A groundwater balance assessment was emphasized,
two decades. The water balance of Lake Awassa has been in order to utilize the basin’s surface and groundwater
of wider interest for many years, initially because of resources in a sustainable manner. The surface water
scientific curiosity (WWDSE 2001; Gebreegziabher 2005) components were quantified from hydrometeorological
related to the rise of the lake water level. More recently, records (MWR 2005; NMSA 2005). No systematic detailed
however, this interest has focused on flooding events and records are available on groundwater pumping rates
subsequent damage to the infrastructure of the rapidly and water level records. In fact, among the water balance
growing town of Awassa, which is located on the eastern components of lacustrine systems, groundwater is typically
shore of the lake (NUPI 1994; Geremew 2000; WWDSE the most difficult to quantify. Thus, many hydrological
2001). During extreme wet seasons, part of the town often studies on lake watersheds give little emphasis to
is flooded. In order to facilitate the proper design of flood groundwater (Crowe & Schwartz 1981; Crowe 1990). To
protection hydraulic structures and sustainable utilization address this deficiency, this study attempts not only to
of the water resources, the area was studied by Ayenew present the groundwater balance, but also the spatial
and Gebreegziabher (2006). Hydrogeological and geothermal variability of the water fluxes in different parts of the
studies provided important information about the type catchment including the effects of different groundwater
and extent of the different lithostratigraphic and hydro- pumping rates from municipal wells.
stratigraphic units and geological structures (UNDP 1973;
Chernet 1982; Halcrow 1989; Dessie & Tessema 2003). OBJECTIVES
An estimate of the groundwater outflows from the The main objectives of this model simulation are (i) to
catchment also was made on the basis of a conventional study the interactions between the lake and groundwater,
water balance (Nidaw 1996; Ayenew & Gebreegziabher and the indirect recharge from surface waters into
2006). Comprehensive isotope and hydrochemical studies underlying aquifers; (ii) to estimate the groundwater
also were conducted to develop a conceptual model of balance in the entire catchment and selected areas within
the catchment (Darling et al. 1996; Ayenew 2003; Dessie & the Rift floor; (iii) to better understand the movement
Tessema 2003). The groundwater recharge of the entire and occurrence of groundwater; and (iv) to analyse the
catchment was estimated in semidistributed manner by hydrodynamics, with regard to likely future anthr-
accounting for hydroclimatic, land use, geomorphological opogenic stresses (e.g. pumping of water; drying of
and geological factors (Gebreegziabher 2005; Mekonnen wetlands) that might arise from global warming and land
2005). use changes.

© 2008 The Authors


Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd
Numerical groundwater flow models 327

It is emphasized that this study is not directed to Awassa is 1030 mm and 1975 mm, respectively, (NMSA
developing a robust transient groundwater flow model 2005). The long-term mean annual average temperature is
that can be used for detailed water management purpose. 19.5 °C, with the mean annual temperature varying only
Rather, the results of this modelling exercise should be slightly throughout the year. Mountainous areas within the
considered only from the perspective of assessing the Lake Awassa catchment experience high precipitation
relative importance of the various water fluxes on the volumes and low evaporation. The long-term average
occurrence and distribution of groundwater and the water monthly hydrometeorological data for the area, recorded
budget of Lakes Awassa and Shalo. Thus, the modelling since the early 1970s, are summarized in Table 1.
results should be used with caution in regard to The Lake Awassa catchment area is contained within
scheduling groundwater and sur face water pumping an overlapping pair of Rift floor calderas, Awassa and
for various uses. Corbetti, which contain the small Lake Shalo (Cheleleka),
and the larger terminal Lake Awassa, respectively. The
SITE DESCRIPTION catchment has an area of 1455 km2, of which Lakes Shalo
Lake Awassa is one of the few freshwater Rift lakes located (7°06′N, 38°33′E, 1685 m a.s.l.) and Awassa occupy 14.5
some 230 km south of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. and 93 km2, respectively. Swamps surrounding Lake Shalo
The catchment is bounded between 6°48′–7°14′N and occupy 63 km2 (Telford 2000). Lake Awassa is about 15 km
38°16′–38°44′E (Fig. 1). Lake Awassa is situated at the long and 5.5 wide, with a maximum and mean depth of
centre of a collapsed large caldera, at an altitude of 1680 m 21 m and 10 m, respectively (NUPI 1994). Lake Shalo
above mean sea level (m a.s.l.). traps much of the sediment transported by the streams
The region has a subhumid climate. The mean annual descending the caldera wall. Large sediment loads enter
rainfall and pan evaporation measured at the town of Lake Awassa at its southern shore.

Fig. 1. Map of study location (scale in metres).

© 2008 The Authors


Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd
328 T. Ayenew and N. Tilahun

Run-off from the eastern wall of the caldera feeds Lake

6.46
4.29
24.9
18.6
56.6
Dec

187
Shalo, with its overflow draining into Lake Awassa through
the Tikur Wuha River, Lake Awassa’s primary influent.
The north and northeastern sides of the Lake Awassa

3.89
33.1
18.4
58.1

9.5
catchment consist of perennial streams draining into Lake
Nov

181
Shalo. No perennial river flow enters the lake from the
eastern, western, northwestern and southern side of the
catchment. The seasonal rivers flow through deeply
19.05
69.67

14.16
3.48
86.1
Oct

153
incised galleys. Lake Awassa has no effluent rivers.
Lake Awassa is anomalously dilute, despite being
located in a topographically closed catchment (Wood &
19.05
76.33

12.17
1.81
Talling 1988). Various mechanisms have been suggested
133.1
Sep

133

to explain its low salinity. Groundwater outflow towards


the low-lying, and Ethiopia’s deepest lake, Lake Shala in
the northern adjacent basin, as demonstrated by Darling
9.64
1.74
18.9
74.5
Aug

114

135

et al. (1996) using isotopic evidence, and by hydrological


models by Ayenew and Gebreegziabher (2006), remains
the most plausible mechanism for maintaining its low
7.76
18.8

1.5

salinity.
Jul

116

75
131

GEOLOGY AND HYDROGEOLOGY


The Lake Awassa catchment represents a Pliocene-age
1.43
98.1
19.5
71.9

7.4
Jun

155

faulted caldera, underlain by fractured volcanics (Wolde-


gebriel et al. 1990). Older faults, and recently-formed ground
cracks, are evident in the floor of the caldera, and significantly
1.61
20.2

5.1
May

enhance the permeability of the rocks. Numerous smaller


126

72
166
Long-term mean monthly hydrometeorological data at Awassa station (1970–2004)

volcanic cones occur within the catchment. The main


rocks are volcano–lacustrine deposits, acidic volcanics
2.77
1.81

associated with basaltic flows. The recent acidic volcanics


20.8
68.2
Apr

127

163

consist of obsidian, which forms the northern watershed


boundary, and pyroclastic products covering the foot of
the mountains, encroaching towards the lake from the
2.3
2.1
Mar

92
21
62
194

north. The volcano–lacustrine deposit is reworked pyroclastic


material, ranging in size from clay to gravel. There also are
scoriaceous deposits and cones associated with unconsolid-
2.65
49.7
20.4
54.4

2.5

ated volcanic materials and lacustrine deposits. These loose


Feb

182

materials form highly productive, unconfined aquifers in


the caldera floor (Nidaw 1996).
As illustrated in Fig. 2, Mekonnen (2005) subdivided the
3.88
26.7
19.5
55.8

3.8
Jan

195

geological units into five groups, as follows:


(1) Basalts of the Plateau Trap Series (Late Miocene) –
These are the oldest rocks found on the eastern and
Tikur Wuha total discharge (mcm)

southeastern part of the caldera wall.


mcm, million cubic metres.
Tikur Wuha base flow (mcm)

(2) Alkaline and peralkaline silicic rocks (Late


Pliocene–Middle Pleistocene) – These cover most of the
Pan evaporation (mm)
Relative humidity (%)

eastern wall of the caldera, south and southeast plains


Temperature (°C)

around Lake Awassa, northeastern, southern, southwestern


and northwestern part of the catchment, and the ridges of
Rainfall (mm)
Parameter

Wendo Genet.
Table 1.

(3) Basaltic lava flows, hyaloclastites and scoria cones


(Recent to Pleistocene) – This unit is found east, west and

© 2008 The Authors


Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd
Numerical groundwater flow models 329

northeast of Lake Awassa, and contains basaltic lava flows NNE-SSW and N-S trending faults are the dominant
associated with scoria and hyaloclastites, forming small faults, while the E-W and N-S faults control stream courses
scattered cones on the caldera floor. in the southern and southwestern part of the catchment.
(4) Recent acidic volcanics (<1.6 Ma) – This unit covers Recently formed ground cracks illustrate dramatic
the plains north and northwest of Lake Awassa around ground expansion (Ayalew et al. 2004), believed to
Corbetti volcano and volcanic products in eastern and have been agitated by recent tectonic events (Ayenew
western caldera floors. It is the youngest volcanic rock, & Gebreegziabher 2006).
being the Chebbi Volcano products. Because of an uneven degree of fracturing and
(5) Volcano–lacustrine deposits (Pleistocene to Recent) weathering, the rocks exhibit highly variable permeability
– These deposits cover most of the floor of the Rift and transmissivity (Table 2). The extreme faulting allows
(caldera), being dominantly derived from volcanic for consideration of the fractured volcanic aquifers as
materials with thin diatomite units. They form the most porous media in the model, with the highly fractured areas
important aquifers in the catchment. being assigned high hydraulic conductivity values (Fig. 3).
Several large faults and ground cracks and small The lacustrine deposits also are very permeable, constituting
volcanic cones can be easily identified in the field, being highly productive aquifers, followed by moderately permeable
also clearly visible from enhanced satellite images. There acidic volcanics, and the obsidian flows being the least-
are at least four sets of faults trending NNE-SSW, N-S, permeable unit.
NW-SE and E-W. The Rift floor is affected by several faults The highly productive aquifers are confined in the floor
that form smaller horst and graben structures. The of the caldera, and enclose the area east of Wendo Genet,

Fig. 2. Simplified hydrogeological map.

© 2008 The Authors


Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd
Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd
© 2008 The Authors

330
Table 2. Basic hydrogeological data from selected water points

Total Water level Transmissivity Hyd. Cond.


Label Locality Type Longitude (m) Latitude (m) Altitude (m) depth (m) elevation (m) (m2 day–1) (m day–1) Yield (lps) Aquifer lithology

BH1 Wendo genet meat factory BH 455 189 775 583 1720 40 1680 Lacustrine sediment
BH2 Awassa tobacco monopoly BH 444 891 775 368 1730 1730 Lacustrine sediment
BH3 Shashemene municipality BH 455 372 795 074 1927 145 1782 13 0.24 2.17 Ignimbrite
BH4 Shashemene bekele molla BH 455 631 795 769 1925 36 1889 Ignimbrite
BH5 Toga BH 447 033 791 288 1720 157 1563 2.7 Lacustrine sediment
BH6 Shalo farm unit 2 BH 444 932 778 774 1720 120 1600 2.2 Lacustrine sediment
BH7 Shalo farm unit 2 BH 445 781 777 224 1720 72 1648 2.2 Lacustrine sediment
BH8 Wend kasha BH 437 542 789 753 1710 83 1627 1.5 Volcanic sand
BH9 Awassa unit 2 farm BH 445 781 777 224 1710 Lacustrine sediment
BH10 Abela wendo #3 BH 447 560 769 845 1765 62 1727 1540 Sand with gravel and tuff
BH11 EWWCA compound BH 443 273 779 488 1711 1689 2080 71.72 2.5 Lacustrine sediment
BH12 BH 443 521 779 636 1711 46.3 1690 81.8 5.25 Lacustrine sediment
BH13 Wanza Wood factory BH 442 779 781 335 1700 50 1686 52.18 4.67
BH14 Textile factory BH 444 761 777 655 1735 61.7 1684 1980 5 Volcanic sand
BH15 Textile factory BH 444 725 777 839 1735 60 1684 3802 6 Volcanic sand
BH16 Wondo kosha BH 433 850 790 246 1711.2 83 1662 1.5 Volcanic sand
BH17 Sedine BH 439 497 770 573 1740 119 1684 4.4
BH18 W-1 Shalo farm BH 443 836 786 728 1706 30 1684 96.8 Loose sand and tuff
BH19 W-2 Shalo farm BH 444 389 787 557 1705 32.5 1680 158 Loose, coarse and fine sand
BH20 W-3 Shalo farm BH 444 329 788 916 1715.2 28.9 1689 Coarse sand
BH21 W-4 Shalo farm BH 443 190 785 010 1696.7 18 1681 Coarse sand
BH22 W-5 Shalo farm BH 443 342 784 426 1685 20 1681 388.8 Fine sand
BH23 W-6 Shalo farm BH 442 423 785 532 1700 57.5 1683 1382 Fine and coarse sand
BH24 Wondo kosha (test well) BH 436 488 790 654 1710.8 72 1671 Lapilli tuff

T. Ayenew and N. Tilahun


BH25 Wondo kosha BH 437 578 788 926 1700 41.8 1677 Welded tuff
BH26 Wondo kosha BH 437 542 789 753 1709.8 54 1677 42.9 1.73 Lapilli tuff
BH27 Wondo kosha BH 436 484 790 614 1711.1 64.77 1671 Lapilli tuff
BH28 Wondo kosha BH 435 064 790 390 1709 81 1663 Lapilli tuff
BH29 Awassa agri. res. centre BH 444 223 779 650 50 z-18 4810 266.4 7 Tuff and pyroclastics
Numerical groundwater flow models
Table 2. Continued

Total Water level Transmissivity Hyd. Cond.


Label Locality Type Longitude (m) Latitude (m) Altitude (m) depth (m) elevation (m) (m2 day–1) (m day–1) Yield (lps) Aquifer lithology

BH30 Abela wendo #1 BH 445 381 770 562 50 z-8.6 453.6 11 Sand and gravel
BH31 Abela wendo #2 BH 445 027 770 369 56 z-22 41.2 1.2 6.5 Pumiceous sand with gravel
BH32 Abela wendo #3 BH 444 996 770 976 62 z-37.9 1540 63.5 Crystalline sand with gravel
BH33 Awassa town treatment plant BH 107 z-57 528.5 10.5 Volcanic sand
BH34 Awassa #1 (gemeto) BH 444 574 773 563 50 z-3 880 18.7 Sand
BH35 awassa #2 (gemeto) BH 444 086 772 115 50 z-6.2 501 11.15 Sand
BH36 Hospital site BH 100 z-13 411.8 8.2 Sand, tuff and ignimbrite
CS4 Tutu (Big) SP 451 992 785 880 1730 1730 216
CS23 Mete SP 445 646 770 671 1740 1740 90
CS25 Gemeto SP 444 676 770 823 1729 1729 39.6
CS26 Loke Palace SP 436 985 771 887 1710 1710 72
Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd

CS27 Galko Haro SP 443 002 760 888 1859 1859 6.1
CS28 Dubiye SP 448 464 765 928 1918 1918 3.6
CS29 Haisa weta SP 451 888 762 462 2195 2195 0.4
CS30 Dobe Dena SP 458 388 761 450 2672 2672 0.38
CS31 GemsoKenera SP 459 946 758 292 2626 2626 0.3
CS33 Bokola SP 430 472 758 306 2101 2101 0.18
CS34 Debub-Mesenkela SP 432 014 750 919 1720 1720 0.72
CS35 Meke Catholic SP 438 672 750 022 1842 1842 2.16
CS36 Hogiso SP 464 996 757 168 2657 2657 1.2

BH, borehole; CS, cold spring.


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331
332 T. Ayenew and N. Tilahun

where alluvial deposits overlay thick lacustrine sediments. capacity, and ultimately flow to the floor of the caldera,
It is recharged mainly by overland flow from the Eastern forming high discharge springs.
Ethiopian Plateau, and partly from direct precipitation, The discharge areas are manifested as swamp-filling
perennial streams and lakes. Aquifers around Lake Awassa depressions, river base flows, and cold and hot springs.
and south of Corbetti have high-to-moderate potential, The swamps around Lake Shalo are a typical discharge
constituting permeable lacustrine sediment and unwelded area. Synoptic measurements of streamflow under near-
tuff. The majority of moderate potential aquifers constitute baseflow conditions were carried out to better understand
deeply buried, fractured Tertiary ignimbrites. Tuffs, basalts, the interactions of the river and groundwater. Analysis of
scoria and recent alluvium are other units of this group. the Tikur Wuha River discharge between 1981–1998
Low-to-moderate potential aquifers are found in the eastern indicates that the annual base flow is ≈30 million cubic
highland, which contains mostly welded tuff. The acidic metres (mcm). Several hot and cold springs exist in
volcanics (e.g. rhyolite; trachyte; obsidians) are almost different parts of the catchment, with the hot springs
impermeable in the hilly topography, and in poorly being aligned along major regional faults. These springs,
developed fracture systems. Several fault-controlled springs and many wells, supply water to the urban and rural
emanate in the fractured volcanics at different elevations. communities. There are over 80 water supply points,
The eastern half of the catchment generally gets higher including deep boreholes, shallow machine-drilled wells,
recharge than the western areas because of higher rainfall, hand-dug wells, protected springs and local ponds.
and intense weathering and fracturing of the volcanics. Conventional field hydrogeological investigations indicate
The caldera floor gets direct recharge from precipitation, the groundwater flow system can be schematized into two
and indirect recharge from perennial rivers and the lakes. major vertical zones: shallow zone of active, fast waterflow;
The southeastern and northeastern part of the catchment and deeper zone of relatively slower flow, with longer
receives more recharge because of high rainfall, and the water residence time. The shallow systems are situated in
presence of flat-topped highlands with deeply weathered the upper permeable soil, sediment and weathered rock
fractured volcanics that have a high groundwater storage zone (usually <50 m). This zone is considered to be the

Fig. 3. Semidistributed hydraulic conductivity map (m day–1).

© 2008 The Authors


Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd
Numerical groundwater flow models 333

phreatic, near-surface aquifer, with high permeability, that groundwater levels were measured from over 70 wells
supplies water to shallow boreholes and hand-dug wells, for the purpose of model calibration. A systematic
low-discharge springs and river baseflows. Fractured rock hydrogeological field survey of stream courses was made
and volcanoclastic deposits in places interbedded with to determine the inputs for the river package of the model
lacustrine sediments exist below this zone. This zone is (e.g. riverbed hydraulic conductance; thickness of riverbed
the major unconfined aquifer, existing mainly below an sediments; length and width of rivers at different river
elevation of 1740 m a.s.l. Deeper underlying, volcanic- reaches). Tikur Wuha River discharge data (MWR 2005)
fractured aquifer exists in the Rift floor, the extent of which were used to check the aquifer–river relations. Field
has been deduced from geophysical data and well baseflow measurements facilitated understanding of the
lithological logs (Dessie & Tessema 2003; Gebreegziabher channel losses or gains of the perennial rivers. Geophysical
2005). The groundwater reserve in the deeper zones is survey results allowed determination of the vertical and
limited in most of the highlands, due to the absence of lateral extent of the aquifer, and definition of the boundary
large faults, and the occurrence of massive volcanics that conditions in different parts of the catchment.
form the mountainous areas in the watershed boundaries, Groundwater modelling involves large geospatial data.
and which cover >50% of the total catchment area. Very A Geographic Information System (GIS) provides an
deep, thermal waters have been reported in, and around, integrated platform for managing, analysing and displaying
Corbetti volcano, and the hot springs close to Lake Shalo spatial data. It also greatly facilitates modelling efforts in
and Wondo Genet. The hot springs are associated with data compilation, calibration and presentation. Furthermore,
local deep thermal sources isolated from the phreatic it can be used to generate information for decision-making
aquifers. purposes, through spatial overlays and processing of
model simulation results. GIS also was used to develop the
METHODOLOGY Digital Elevation Model (DEM) of the catchment which, in
The widely known groundwater flow model, MODFLOW, turn, helped define the top and bottom of the aquifers. The
developed by the United States Geological Survey, was DEM was derived from the Shuttle Radar Terrain Mission
used in this study. MODFLOW is a modular, three- (SRTM) data, at a resolution of 90 × 90 m, which was later
dimensional, finite-difference groundwater flow code converted to the resolution of the model grid. Corrections
that simulates saturated porous media. The steady-state were made to fill the voids in the SRTM dataset, using the
groundwater flow is simulated on the basis of the following software Fsterrain and 3DEM. Furthermore, ArcView, one
governing differential equation, under a two-dimensional of the most widely used Windows-based GIS software,
aerial view (Anderson & Woessner 1992): was used in this study.

∂ ⎛ ∂h ⎞ ⎛ ∂ ∂h ⎞ BOUNDARY CONDITIONS AND MODEL INPUT


Tx + Ty ±W = 0 (1)
∂x ⎜⎝ ∂x ⎟⎠ ⎜⎝ ∂ y ∂ y ⎟⎠ PARAMETERS
In a finite difference numerical model, the study area is a
where h = hydraulic head, Tx and Ty = components of discretized domain, consisting of an array of finite difference
transmissivity in the x and y direction, and R = a blocks or cells. A uniform grid of 200 m resolution, having
withdrawal/injection source term. 230 rows and 250 columns, is used. The system is
Any numerical groundwater flow simulation requires a considered vertically as a single layer with variable
good conceptual hydrogeological model and the development hydraulic conductivity. Field evidence and pumping test
of a systematic database accounting for all model input data indicate that the aquifer is unconfined, with highly
parameters. Accordingly, hydrogeological data were collected, variable permeability and specific yield. The maximum
and extensive field investigations also were carried out. total aquifer thickness is ≈ 250 m in the centre of the basin,
Well logs and pumping test records were collected from where thick lacustrine deposits and fractured volcanics
the existing hydrogeological database (Dessie & Tessema exist. The thickness of the layer in the highlands could
2003; Mekonnen 2005). The groundwater recharge was exceed this value, although the permeability is much
estimated, using a semidistributed, soil–water balance lower.
model (Thornthwaite & Mather 1957; Alley 1985), and a The catchment is bounded by volcanic hills and
conventional water balance approach (Gebreegziabher mountains, which are more or less impermeable, except in
2005). The aerial extent of the aquifers was determined the northwest, where groundwater flows to the adjacent
from well lithological logs, existing hydrogeological maps Ziway-Shala Basin through large faults. Figures 3 and 4
and geophysical data (Dessie & Tessema 2003). Static illustrate the schematic section and boundary conditions

© 2008 The Authors


Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd
334 T. Ayenew and N. Tilahun

in the east–west direction, respectively. Except for this Evapotranspiration is defined in the model by assigning
outflow zone (treated as a head-dependent boundary), the the evaporation rate, the elevation of the evaporating
entire watershed divide is treated as no-flow boundary. surface, and the extinction depth to each vertical column
Lakes Awssa and Shalo are considered as constant head. of model cells. The input parameters are assumed to be
A total of 35 pumping wells are considered, with a constant during a given stress period. The evaporation rate
variable pumping rate ranging from 10 to 385 m3 day–1. is estimated to be an average of 0.0012 m day–1, while the
There are no recharging wells. Water level observations extinction depth varies from 1.5–3 m. The elevation of the
from more than 70 wells indicate that depth to static evaporating surface is between 1682 and 1690 m a.s.l.
groundwater level varies from a few m in the caldera floor, The aquifer recharge comes from precipitation and river
up to 40 m in elevated areas. The majority of the wells channel losses. Major direct recharge is assumed to take
represent an unconfined system, as revealed from place in all areas, except where rare non-fractured hard
pumping test data. rocks are present. The groundwater recharge was estimated
Evaporation from the groundwater is assumed to exist in in a semi-distributed manner by accounting hydrom-
the swampy areas surrounding Lake Shalo. This is eterological variability, land use patterns, rainfall
handled by the evapotranspiration package, which simulates distribution, slope and geology. The existing data is
the effects of plant transpiration and direct evaporation refined by accounting the permeability of the different
in removing water directly from the groundwater. hydrostratigraphic zones. The refined, distributed

Fig. 4. Model boundary conditions.

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Numerical groundwater flow models 335

recharge data was used in the modelby varying in a wide wells used in the calibration. Two calibration criteria were
range between 0.000049 to 0.00022 m day–1. The highest used: (i) visual matching of simulated contours to those of
recharge occurs in the fractured and weathered volcanics observed values; and (ii) matching simulated hydraulic
in the highlands, and in the floor of the Rift, where intense heads at 95% of the points to within ±10 m of the observed
faulting is evident. Local impermeable hard rocks in the hydraulic heads. The model was assumed calibrated
Rift floor and the northwestern volcanic hills get the when the fit between the observed and calibrated heads
lowest recharge. was within these criteria, and simulated the groundwater
One of the most important model input and calibration contours. The difference between the observed and simul-
parameters is hydraulic conductivity. Table 2 summarizes ated heads in the majority of wells is <3 m.
the hydrogeological data from pumping tests of selected In addition to the above criteria, the quality of the
water points. Ignimbrites and tuffs have the lowest calibration is evaluated by calculating summary statistics
hydraulic conductivity, and the laucstrine deposits being on the differences between the simulated and measured
the highest, with average values of 0.1 and 442 m day–1, water levels. The root mean square error or standard
respectively (Fig. 3). The transmissivity also varies widely deviation (the average of the squares differences in the
between 13 and 4010 m2 day–1. The range of transmissivity measured and simulated heads) was 3.2 m for all wells.
and hydraulic conductivity values are very similar to the The mean error (the mean difference between the
volcanic rocks and lacustrine deposits in the northern measured and simulated heads) was 1.2 m. A linear
adjacent Ziway-Shala Basin (Ayenew 1998). regression analysis of simulated and observed hydraulic
heads for all wells yielded a coefficient of correlation and
variance equal to 0.98 and 17.5, respectively. Most of the
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION wells diverging from the observed heads are found close
Model calibration and sensitivity analysis to rivers and, in few areas, where large faults exist.
The purpose of model calibration is to ensure that the Sensitivity analysis was done to understand the
model simulation is reproducing field-measured heads and uncertainty in the calibrated model caused by limitation
flows (Anderson & Woessner 1992). It involves adjusting in the estimates of aquifer parameters and stresses.
and refining parameter structures and values to provide Groundwater models are sensitive to different model input
the best match between measured and simulated hydraulic variables and parameters for which the model is most
heads and flows. The steady-state calibration was made, sensitive. Small changes in those parameters can result in
using static water level observations from 74 wells. During large differences in the simulated heads or fluxes. The
the course of calibration, adjustments to the aquifer response of the calibrated numerical model to changes
thickness and hydraulic conductivity were made, within in model input parameters (e.g. hydraulic conductivity;
reasonable ranges in different parts of the catchment. recharge; pumping rate) is assessed.
Calibration can be achieved in two ways; namely, The results of the sensitivity analysis were evaluated
forward and inverse problem solutions. In an inverse by calculating the sum of square deviation between the
solution, one determines the values for a given parameter measured and simulated heads, for a decrease or increase
structure and hydrological stress, using a mathematical in percentage from the calibrated value, of that parameter.
technique (e.g. non-linear regression from information The greater the deviations of the water level from its
about head distribution). This technique is sometimes calibrated value, the greater the sensitivity of the model to
called ‘parameter estimation’ and determines the set of an increase or decrease for that parameter. To test the
parameter values that minimize the differences between sensitivity of the three parameters, the calibrated values
simulated and measured quantities such as hydraulic were separately increased and decreased by 25, 50 and
heads and water flows. The forward problem calibrates 75%.
parameters, such as hydraulic conductivity, and hydrological Based on this approach, the model is highly sensitive to
stresses are specified, with the model calculating the head recharge, followed by hydraulic conductivity, and pumping
distribution. The forward solution method is used by a rate. Simulated water levels are more sensitive to the
conventional trial-and-error method, in which model decreased recharge values, mainly beyond 50%. Compared
parameters were adjusted manually within reasonable with recharge, the model is less sensitive to hydraulic
limits of the existing data and field hydrogeological conductivity, especially for the highlands. It was observed
observations in order to achieve the best fit. The for all simulations that the model is less sensitive to
effectiveness of calibration is evaluated by comparing parameter changes in the southern part of the catchment
measured heads with simulated heads for all observation than in the north. The maximum head change in aquifers

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336 T. Ayenew and N. Tilahun

is evident within the Lake Awassa caldera floor, far from groundwater system in the swampy areas. Large springs
lakes where productive wells exist. The variations of being used by the community are treated as discharging
model input parameters result in less head changes for wells.
the highlands. The results indicate that the total net annual water
The model simulation provided valuable information on leakage from lakes and rivers is 77.4 μm and 65.2 μm,
the groundwater balance of the catchment, lake– respectively. The annual water outflow from the catchment
groundwater interactions, groundwater flow pattern and is 52.5 × 106 m3, a value not far from independent estimates
water fluxes under different anthropogenic stresses, as made using surface water hydrological model (58 μm
described in a following section. annually) and conventional water balance calculations
(Ayenew & Gebreegziabher 2006). The total water
Groundwater balance and the role of surface withdrawal from wells, and the evapotranspiration from
waters swampy areas surrounding Lake Shalo, is 2.1 × 106 and
The calibrated model simulation results of the daily and 0.88 × 106 m3, respectively. The existing groundwater
annual groundwater balance of the entire catchment pumping rate is by far smaller than the available recharge,
is presented in Table 3. The model-based groundwater although groundwater outflow from the basin is high.
balance refers to quantification of the inflow and outflow The results highlight the importance of indirect recharge
from part of, or the entire, model domain. In a steady-state from lakes and rivers in the Rift floor. In contrast, the
model simulation, inflows into, and outflows from, aquifers groundwater feeds the rivers in the highlands above an
and permanent open waterbodies should be quantified. In altitude of 1800 m a.s.l.
this study, groundwater inflow into the aquifers included
aerial recharge from precipitation, and water fluxes from Groundwater flow patterns and interactions
rivers and lakes, while the outflows included the baseflow with Lake Awassa
of rivers (river leakages), well and spring withdrawals, The model-estimated groundwater head distribution
and groundwater outflows from the catchment (head- generally agrees reasonably well with the regional
dependent boundary), and evapotranspiration from the groundwater contour map established on the basis of

Fig. 5. Simplified schematic section in east–west direction. CS, cold springs; HS, hot springs; R, river.

Table 3. Model-calculated groundwater balance for Lake Awassa catchment

Annual value (m3)


Calibrated
Stress condition Inflow Outflow Discrepancy (%)

Constant head 4.46E+07 1.22E+08 0.01


Wells 2.13E+06
Recharge 6.77E+07 0.00E+00
Evaporation 8.76E+05
River leakage 1.06E+08 4.09E+07
Head-dependent boundary 5.25E+07

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Numerical groundwater flow models 337

wellhead observations. Unfortunately, groundwater level gradient, and the presence of highly permeable rocks,
and pumping test data are scarce for the highlands. The resulted in the emergence of springs and seepage zones at
elevation of emanation points of perennial springs in direct different elevations.
contact with the regional groundwater system in these The large elevation difference between the mountainous
areas is considered static groundwater levels. The areas and the caldera floor favours the formation of local
groundwater level altitude is not near the land surface in and intermediate water flow systems. Channel losses are
most of these areas. The depth to water often varies common along the course of the Tikur Wuha River.
between 15–20 m. In the foothills of the mountains along Groundwater feeds the perennial rivers originating from
major faults and swampy areas, the depth to static water the northeastern highlands. There is no strong evidence
level decreases. It tends to be deeper beneath volcanic supporting groundwater inflows to the catchment from
hills and ridges (Fig. 5). adjacent basins.
Figure 6 illustrates the predicted groundwater contours The lowest groundwater level elevation is in the
from the calibrated model. The groundwater contour is northern part of the catchment (1660 m a.s.l.), where
more or less a subdued replica of the topographical groundwater flows into the Ziway-Shala Basin. The water
contours. The groundwater flow converges towards Lake level gradient in the volcano–lacustrine sediments is
Awassa from all sides, except the northern boundary, fairly flat, with discharge occurring as baseflow to streams,
where groundwater outflow is evident. The large hydraulic or evaporation from swampy areas in which groundwater

Fig. 6. Model-simulated groundwater contours. (A = main area where large groundwater volume feeds perennial rivers; B = areas
designated as zones of evapotranspiration from groundwater; and C = areas where main rivers feed Rift floor aquifers).

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338 T. Ayenew and N. Tilahun

is close to the surface. A high hydraulic gradient scenario, the pumping rate is reduced by 25%. This latter
characterizes the escarpments and mountain range scenario was meant to better understand the hydrological
slopes. system before major pumping started in the last couple of
The groundwater fluxes from the surrounding mountains years around the town of Awassa.
contribute to the major aquifers in the central part of the Two additional model simulations (scenario 4–5) were
catchment below an elevation of 1,700 m a.s.l. The lateral made by changing the recharge in the catchment. The
flow of groundwater in some locations is manifested as recharge was increased by 50%, and decreased by 25%.
springs with high hydraulic gradients. Springs play a The rationale for selecting the different recharge rates was
limited role in the hydrodynamics of the catchment, with to analyse the response of the catchment under different
the exception of the high-discharge springs. There is a climatic conditions and other anthropogenic influences
strong hydraulic connection between the highland and Rift that could affect the direct recharge. Changes in climatic
floor aquifers. conditions from time to time affect precipitation and the
availability of groundwater in Ethiopia (Ayenew & Legesse
Scenario analysis of anthropogenic stresses 2007). The dramatic expansion of the town of Awassa also
A calibrated groundwater model can be used as a tool could hinder water reaching the aquifers, because of roof
to evaluate the response of any hydrological system interception and impervious surfaces on the ground (e.g.
(catchment, aquifer, lake or reservoir) to potential stresses roads; in-built areas). Land use changes (deforestation)
induced by either human activities or natural processes. could favour more surface run-off and less groundwater
Management actions involving changes in the quantity and recharge. In contrast, successive wet years can result in
distribution of groundwater pumping from wells and substantial groundwater recharge.
springs could alter the catchment. Land use changes Two scenarios were considered with regard to lake water
could affect the quantity and distribution of groundwater levels. The first scenario assumes complete disappearance
recharge, and enhance the siltation rate of lakes and of Lake Shalo, by removing the constant head cells
reservoirs. The calibrated model was used in this study to (scenario 6). The rationale for selecting this issue was
indirectly analyse these changes under different stresses. because of the fact that the lake has experienced a
Although simulated water levels for a given scenario could dramatic lake level decline over the last few decennia
not accurately represent ‘real world’ values, the relative (Telford et al. 1999). There is high probability of the
differences in water levels and fluxes can be compared, complete disappearance of this lake because of extreme
in order to provide useful information for planning and in-lake sedimentation as a result of deforestation in the
decision-making. The model was used in this study to catchment (Ayenew and Gebreegziabher 2005). What is
analyse three likely stress scenarios: (i) changing the now swampy area surrounding the lake was a permanent
pumping rate of wells; (ii) altering the groundwater waterbody only a few decades ago. This change is attributed
recharge that can be related to climatic and land use to land use changes, erosion and subsequent infilling with
changes; and (iii) modifying lake water levels, including sediments. Land cover changes have been estimated by
the complete drying of Lake Shalo (by removing the lake comparing multitemporal aerial photographs and land use
constant head cells from the model domain). A total of maps dating from 1965 to 1998. Open bush land, cultivated
seven simulation scenarios were assessed, as illustrated in fields, grazing land and urban area have exhibited spatial
Table 4. The model simulation results of each scenario is increments of 136.2, 50.7, 7.2 and 185.7%, respectively. In
subtracted from the calibrated model results of the inflow contrast, dense woodlands and open bush land decreased
and outflow fluxes of each water balance component, and by 55 and 73.8% (WWDSE 2001). The final simulation
expressed in percentages (columns 6 and 7 in Table 4). (scenario 7) is related to the possible pumping of Lake
The results are expressed in cubic metre per year. For all Awassa water for various uses, possibly future irrigation
scenarios, the model parameters were unchanged from and industrial purposes. Based on this latter scenario, the
those specified in the calibrated model used to estimate lake water level is reduced by 2 m (reducing the constant
the groundwater balance shown in Table 3. head cell by 2 m).
Three scenarios of increased groundwater withdrawals The results of all the analysed scenarios are summarized
were tested (scenarios 1–3). In the first scenario, the in Table 4. The simulation results of the catchment
current water withdrawal rate (5828 m3 day–1) was doubled. groundwater balance, stream baseflows (river leakage),
In the second scenario, the pumping rate was increased water table elevations and subsurface outflows (head-
fourfold, which is assumed to be the maximum anticipated dependent boundary) were compared to the steady-state
discharge rate in the coming 15 years. In the third model simulation results.

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Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd
Numerical groundwater flow models
Table 4. Model scenario analyses results (negative values indicate increasing trends, and positive values indicate decreasing trends, with respect to the calibrated model simulation result. The
last column, referring to changes with regard to calibrated values, indicates the results of the initial model-calibrated value minus the simulation under the given scenario, expressed in
percentage for all components of the water balance. The water balance is given with respect to the total model domain and, in the case of recharge, it refers to the land area, excluding the
constant head cells)

Change with respect to


3 –1
Annual value (m year ) calibrated value (in %)

Scenario Stress condition Water balance components Inflow Outflow Inflow Outflow

1 Increase pumping rate twofold Constant head 4.488E+07 1.208E+08 −0.42 1.06
Wells 0.000E+00 4.259E+06 −100.00
Recharge 6.768E+07 0.000E+00 0.00
Evaporation 0.000E+00 8.707E+05 0.73
River leakage 1.063E+08 4.055E+07 −0.26 0.89
Head-dependent boundary 0.000E+00 5.253E+07 0.01
2 Increase pumping rate fourfold Constant head 4.521E+07 1.183E+08 −1.27 3.18
Wells 0.000E+00 8.518E+06 −300.00
Recharge 6.768E+07 0.000E+00 0.00
Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd

Evaporation 0.000E+00 8.581E+05 2.16


River leakage 1.069E+08 3.983E+07 −0.77 2.66
Head-dependent boundary 0.000E+00 5.252E+07 0.03
3 Decrease the pumping rate by 25% Constant head 4.455E+07 1.228E+08 0.21 −0.53
Wells 0.000E+00 1.065E+06 50.00
Recharge 6.768E+07 0.000E+00 0.00
Evaporation 0.000E+00 8.804E+05 −0.38
River leakage 1.059E+08 4.110E+07 0.13 −0.44
Head-dependent boundary 0.000E+00 5.254E+07 −0.01
4 Increase recharge by 50% Constant head 3.994E+07 1.392E+08 10.55 −13.95
Wells 0.000E+00 2.129E+06 0.00
Recharge 1.015E+08 0.000E+00 20.86
© 2008 The Authors

Evaporation 0.000E+00 9.991E+05 −13.92


River leakage 1.024E+08 4.887E+07 3.45 −19.44
Head-dependent boundary 0.000E+00 5.291E+07 −0.71

339
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340
Table 4. Continued

Change with respect to


Annual value (m3 year–1) calibrated value (in %)

Scenario Stress condition Water balance components Inflow Outflow Inflow Outflow

5 Decrease recharge by 25% Constant head 4.336E+07 1.263E+08 2.89 −3.40


Wells 0.000E+00 2.129E+06 0.00
Recharge 7.614E+07 0.000E+00 −12.51
Evaporation 0.000E+00 9.046E+05 −3.14
River leakage 1.049E+08 4.273E+07 1.04 −4.43
Head-dependent boundary 0.000E+00 5.263E+07 −0.18
6 Disappearance of Shalo Constant head 3.428E+07 7.934E+07 23.22 35.04
Wells 2.127E+06 0.000E+00 100.00
Recharge 7.660E+07 0.000E+00 −13.18
Evaporation 0.000E+00 3.805E+06 −33.85
River leakage 8.363E+07 5.675E+07 21.13 −38.70
Head-dependent boundary 0.000E+00 5.270E+07 −0.31
7 Reducing the level of Awassa by 2 m Constant head 4.517E+07 1.336E+08 −1.18 −9.39
Wells 0.000E+00 2.129E+06 0.00
Recharge 7.614E+07 0.000E+00 −12.51
Evaporation 0.000E+00 8.104E+05 7.60
River leakage 1.054E+08 4.154E+07 0.58 −1.54
Head-dependent boundary 0.000E+00 4.890E+07 6.92

T. Ayenew and N. Tilahun


Numerical groundwater flow models 341

Increasing the pumping rate does not substantially swampy area. The river leakage increases by 38%. The
change the groundwater dynamics or water fluxes in the water level of the wells around the lake declines slightly,
highlands. The major changes occur in the Rift floor, far with the highest decline being 1.03 m northwest of Lake
from the lakes. There is little change in areas above an Shalo. The smallest decline is 0.002 m in the southeastern
elevation of 1750 m a.s.l. part of the catchment.
The largest relative change occurs in the groundwater The reduction of the Lake Awassa water level decreases
outflows and leakage from the lakes when the pumping the groundwater outflows from the catchment by 6.9%,
rate is altered. Doubling the current pumping rate indicating that the lake water level is one of the main
(5828 m3 day–1) will slightly change the water fluxes. The factors controlling the groundwater outflow from the
lake and river contributions to the aquifers increase by 1.1 catchment. All the other scenarios did not indicate more
and 0.9%, respectively. Decreasing the pumping rate by than a 1% change in the interbasin groundwater transfer.
25% does not have a significant effect. Increasing the
pumping rate fourfold, however, identifies visible changes CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
in the local groundwater flow patterns. The contributions Given the uncertainties in the aquifer thickness, and the
from lakes and rivers increased by 32 and 2.2%, respectively. limitations on wellhead observations in the highlands, the
The groundwater outflows from the basin do not change overall groundwater balance at the catchment level can be
significantly with increasing pumping rates. The local taken as a reasonable approximately from the perspective
groundwater flow patterns and groundwater levels remain of groundwater flow system analysis. The model simulation
more or less the same at subregional scale. However, clearly indicates the intimate relation of the groundwater
increasing the pumping rate by fourfold changes the local with the various surface waterbodies in the drainage basin.
groundwater dynamics. Groundwater heads decreased by This signifies that a water resources management plan
1–2 m in the Rift floor. The maximum water drawdown must consider this intricate relation, giving attention to the
occurs in the plains east of the town of Awassa. There is natural subsurface interbasin groundwater transfer.
generally little change in the hydrodynamics in areas The steady-state model used in this study reasonably
above an altitude of 1850 m a.s.l. The pumping scenario represented the pattern of the groundwater flow system,
analysis clearly indicates that there is no immediate threat and the results are in good agreement with independent
to the lakes and their close environs. studies made using isotope and hydrochemical techniques.
The model is highly sensitive to changes in the The model-simulated groundwater head distribution resembles
recharge. Slight recharge variations affect the subsurface the topographical contours. Nevertheless, the scenario analyses
hydrodynamics and the water balance of the entire revealed that anthropogenic stresses affect the local ground-
catchment. The wellheads in the Rift floor change water flow pattern predominantly within the caldera floor.
dramatically when the recharge increases slightly in the Comparisons between the groundwater and topographical
highlands, highlighting the fact that the subsurface contours, and the model sensitivity analyses, indicate the
hydrodynamics or flow patterns of the Lake Awassa dominance of the topographically driven flow system
caldera floor are controlled by highland recharge. under water table conditions, although local lithological
Increasing the recharge by 50% decreased the net lake and differences and faults form discrete flows represented in
river leakage by 14 and 19.4%, respectively. The total the model by a very high permeability. These flows are
groundwater outflow from the catchment also will increase predominantly responsible for the interbasin groundwater
by 0.7%. The groundwater evaporation also will increase by transfer, which was estimated to be ≈ 52.5 × 106 m3 annually.
about 13.9%. The regional water flow patterns remain more The model simulations and scenario analyses enabled
or less the same. The groundwater level in the Rift floor, these researchers to identify major sites of water inflows
however, increases in a wide range, with a maximum rise and outflows around the Lake Awassa shoreline. The lake
of up to 5 m in some places. Decreasing the recharge has receives large quantities of groundwater from the southern
a negative effect. Reducing it by 25% will cause a 1 and 3% and northeastern shoreline, while the northern shore is
increase in the river and lake leakage, respectively. the major water leakage zone, ultimately flowing to the
The removal of Lake Shalo from the model causes north towards Lake Shala.
visible changes in the water level and flow patterns within The existing pumping rates in the catchment have
the caldera floor. The major changes are in the plains limited influences on the regional hydrodynamics. Increasing
surrounding the lake. The first important change is a 35% the current pumping rate by over fourfold, however, will
decreased water leakage from Lake Awassa. Groundwater decrease the groundwater level by an average of 1.5 m
evaporation rises threefold as the lake is transformed to within the caldera floor.

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342 T. Ayenew and N. Tilahun

The scenario analyses provided important information ability of the first author, including research facilities
on the likely influences of human interventions and and accommodation, to conduct part of this work at the
climate changes on the catchment. If Lake Shalo is Department of Applied Geology of Ruher University of
removed from the model domain (by assuming its Bochum (Germany). The French Government-sponsored
complete disappearance in the model simulations), the MAWARI project provided partial funding support for this
groundwater levels in the caldra floor will decrease research. The Earth Science Department of Addis Ababa
substantially. This will have obvious negative environmental University (Ethiopia) also is acknowledged for its field
consequences on both the productive aquifers and the logistic support.
general aquatic environment. Reduced aquifer recharge
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Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd

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