Sofie Annys successfully defended her PhD


On December 11, Sofie Annys successfully defended her PhD entitled ‘Impact of River Regulation on Downstream Socio-hydrologic Systems in Ethiopia’. In her research, Sofie has adopted an interdisciplinary approach and has studied the impact of two large dams and one interbasin water transfer on downstream environmental, economic and social sub-systems. Her research revealed that (i) downstream hydrogeomorphic systems have drastically altered after river regulation and are developing a new hydrogeomorphic equilibrium, (ii) small-scale farmer-led irrigation systems have been more efficient in increasing agricultural productivities than several large-scale irrigation projects, (iii) the newly induced hydrologic regimes have strongly altered downstream social interactions due to impeded river crossing, and (iv) ill-prepared land redistributions and resettlements have left thousands of households with a high risk of impoverishment. This highlights that large dams have far-reaching impacts on humans and the environment, despite their important efforts to make the agricultural and energy sectors climate resilient.