Yonas Girma Abebe has had a passion for engineering science and biology since high school, and strongly believes that education challenges people to change their environment for the better. He has witnessed the first hand results of proper irrigation doubling the productivity of local farmers with nothing but their existing resources and simple water management techniques. Because agriculture is the greatest water consumer in the country, he believes that increasing demand for water by municipal, industrial, and power generation plants, in addition to the ecological and agricultural needs, calls for prudent utilization of our already dwindling water resources. His overarching desire is to study this valuable resource because it is vital for sustainable resource management.
Mr. Girma became a Borlaug LEAP Fellow in the Spring of 2014 while conducting research on Lake Hawassa, a closed fresh water lake that acts as the main water source for hundreds of thousands of people. His main objective was to identify the impacts of land use and cover (LULC) on the Lake Hawassa catchment by developing a quantitative tool that can adequately simulate surface and ground water resources, and characterize and estimate hydrologic fluxes for water resource management applications under change. Montclair State University in New Jersey and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) provided the opportunity for Mr. Girma to accumulate valuable knowledge and skills during his time as a Borlaug LEAP fellow. He intends to transfer those skills and knowledge back to his home institution, and, eventually, to the people of Ethiopia. Both Dr. Clement Alo of Montclair State University, and Dr. Tracy Baker of IWMI have had years of experience in hydrologic modeling and ensured that Abebe’s research received the highest quality of support and supervision. Mr. Girma plans to compete his PhD Water Resources Engineering and Management by the end of 2015.