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Uppsala University (2019)

The Effect of Agricultural Intensification on Nitrate Concentrations in Shallow Groundwater in Two Watersheds in Ethiopia

Larsson, Anna

Titre : The Effect of Agricultural Intensification on Nitrate Concentrations in Shallow Groundwater in Two Watersheds in Ethiopia

Auteur : Larsson, Anna

Université de soutenance : Uppsala University

Grade : Master Programme in Environmental and Water Engineering 2019

Résumé
Sustainable intensification of agricultural will be crucial in the future to feed a growing population and address ongoing climate changes. Ethiopia is still dominated by traditional agricultural practices and the population is expected to increase from todays 110 million to 174 million in 2050, making sustainable implementations of intensified agricultural methods crucial. In this study, two watersheds with differences in agricultural intensification and geophysical attributes in Amhara region, north western Ethiopia, are evaluated based on nitrogen content in wells. An attempt to explain the differences in contamination levels of nitrate between the two watersheds are done by examining the usage of fertilisers, amount of livestock and irrigation habits as well as topography. The result showed that the less intensified watershed exceeded the WHO guidelines for nitrate more frequently than the more intensified watershed. Temporal patterns in contamination levels in specific wells could be seen in both watersheds, where the WHO guidelines being most frequently exceeded in July and September versus July and November for the watersheds respectively. No significant correlations between nitrate concentration and explaining parameters were detected in any of the watersheds. The methods used in this paper could not explain the variations in contamination levels. The results imply that the nitrate responses are very site-specific. Evaluations including more precise details on crop management and subsurface flow patterns as well as on other factors influencing contamination levels in wells, such as distance to household and cattle, are needed in further investigations as agriculture continues to intensify

Mots Clés  : agricultural intensification, Ethiopia, fertilisers, groundwater, nitrate, watershed

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Page publiée le 31 mai 2020