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Abstract

Modeling of gully erosion in Ethiopia highlands was not yet well adopted, while more than 95%
of the sediment was contributed from gully erosion in Ethiopian highlands (i.e. in the study
watershed). Assessment and mitigation of downstream impacts demand accurate quantification
of gully erosion contribution to the total sediment yield. Hence enhanced numerical models
simulating all aspects of gully dynamics are required. This study demonstrates the ability of
CONCEPTS (Conservational Channel Evolution and Pollutant Transport System) model to
simulate gully erosion in Debre Mawi watershed. CONCEPTS is a process based, dynamic
computer model that simulates open-channel hydraulics, sediment transport, and channel
morphology. To model the gully using CONCEPTS three main data groups (i.e. bank geometry,
hydraulic data and geotechnical data) were collected in 2013 and 2014 rainy season. Two weirs
in the inlet and outlet of the gully were constructed for monitoring of discharge and sediment
concentrations. In 2013 and 2014, eight and fifteen piezometers were respectively installed to
measure GW (Ground Water) table depths and gully cross sectional changes was monitored
manually (using tape meter) and using total station. Observed sediment measurements showed
more than 95 % of the sediment was contributed from gully erosion indicating the gully is the
main source of sediment in the studied watershed. Throughout the monitoring periods the gully
was highly characterized by shallow GW tables (i.e. all piezometer shows GW table depths
shallower than 3 m, which is always above the gully bottom). The model run was divided in to
two, which is before and after calibration of shear strength parameters and base flow. The
results obtained in the first run showed no top width change, and over predicts bed erosion.
Calibration of the model by reducing the shear strength parameter by 50 % showed better
modeling results. Using the calibrated parameters, the lateral top width change was adequately
predicted by CONCEPTS, but there is still over prediction of bed erosion for both 2013 and
2014 simulation periods. A top width expansion of 13 m immediately downstream of the HC was
observed and the simulated top width changes at this location is 3 m larger than this value.
Generally modeling results showed that CONCEPTS was not much sensitive to the shallow GW
table depths and high pore water pressure so that incorporating modification in CONCEPTS
regarding the assumptions of GW table depth might result in better modeling results.
Key words: Gully erosion, Sediment yield, Sediment concentration, Debre Mawi, CONCEPTS,
GW table, Head cut, pore water pressure