Assessment of Soil Loss in a Typical Ungauged Dam Catchment using RUSLE Model (Maruba Dam, Kenya)

Allois K. Luvai, John P.O. Obiero, Christian T. Omuto


Soil erosion is a serious land degradation problem which nations all over the world are struggling with. It has affected many river catchments most of which are very dynamic and have become quite vulnerable due to human influence. As such, the functionality of the ecosystem has been largely compromised. Soil erosion has been reported as an expensive problem to remedy and therefore numerous of efforts have shifted to its prevention. This has called for estimation of soil loss which has been adequately achieved by use erosion models over the past. One such model is the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) which has been applied at catchment level. Maruba dam catchment has become very unhealthy due to the unsustainable modifications of the terrain. This is evident at the rate at which the dam is losing its storage capacity due to sedimentation. The current situation in the dam formed the basis for this study. Information on soil loss within the catchment is missing and as such decision makers do not have a basis for initiating soil and water conservation plans. The methodological framework for this study was the use of RUSLE model integrated in a GIS framework. The parameters of the model were derived using GIS and RS tools. The study revealed that soil loss ranged between 0 and 29 t ha-1 yr-1 and this explains why the dam if silting up at a fast rate. With this set of information on soil loss, the health of the catchment would be adequately restored and this would save the dam from unwarranted sedimentation.

Keywords: Soil erosion, catchment, RUSLE, sedimentation, GIS

DOI: 10.7176/JEES/11-16-06

Publication date:June 30th 2021

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3216 ISSN (Online)2225-0948

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