Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

The Effect of Papyrus Wetlands on Flow Regulation in a Tropical River Catchment

Lookup NU author(s): Alem Oyarmoi, Dr Stephen Birkinshaw, Dr Caspar HewettORCiD, Professor Hayley Fowler



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2023 by the authors.Africa has the largest area of wetlands of international importance, and papyrus constitutes the most dominant species for many of these wetlands. This hydrological modelling study assesses and quantifies the impacts of these papyrus wetlands on historical baseflow and quickflow, as well as future flood and low flows in the Mpologoma catchment in Uganda. Assessment over the historic period shows that wetlands strongly attenuate quickflow while moderately enhancing baseflow. They play a moderating role in most months, except for the first dry season (June and July), due to the reversal of flows between wetlands and rivers that often occur during this period. Annual estimates show that wetlands are four times better at regulating quickflow than baseflow. Examination of changes at 2 and 4 °C global warming levels (GWLs) indicate that wetlands will play critical roles in mitigating flood risks, with a lesser role in supporting low flows. Wetlands are predicted to lower future mean flood magnitude by 5.2 and 7.8% at GWL2 and GWL4, respectively, as well as halving the average number of flood events in a year, irrespective of the warming level. This work shows that papyrus-dominated wetlands strongly influence catchment hydrology, with significant roles on quickflow, including floods, and highlights the need for their conservation and protection.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Oyarmoi A, Birkinshaw S, Hewett CJM, Fowler HJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Land

Year: 2023

Volume: 12

Issue: 12

Online publication date: 12/12/2023

Acceptance date: 11/12/2023

Date deposited: 19/02/2024

ISSN (electronic): 2073-445X

Publisher: MDPI


DOI: 10.3390/land12122158


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric