Lake Hawassa: An Ecosystem in Peril

Authors: Girma Kebbede*, Mount Holyoke College
Topics: Water Resources and Hydrology, Human-Environment Geography, Environment
Keywords: Lake Hawassa, City of Hawassa, Central Ethiopia, freshwater lakes, wetlands, ecological effects
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: 8224, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Girma Kebbede, Department of Geology and Geography, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Lake Hawassa: An Ecosystem in Peril Lake Hawassa is one of eight Rift Valley freshwater lakes in central Ethiopia. The city of Hawassa was founded on the eastern shore of this lake nearly six decades ago. Much of the land the city now occupies was mostly a wetland. Today, the city is one of the fastest growing urban areas in the country. The rate and the scale of its growth started to accelerate especially after the city became the capital of the newly created Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Regional State (SNNPRS) in the early 1990s. Its physical growth continues to involve reclaiming dry land from the remaining wetlands. This paper assesses the ecological effects of the unbridled development of the city on the lake and the wetlands that feed into it. Key words: Lake Hawassa, City of Hawassa, Central Ethiopia, freshwater lakes, wetlands, ecological effects

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