Potential of Water Hyacinth Infestation on Lake Tana, Ethiopia: A Prediction Using a GIS-Based Multi-Criteria Technique
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Water hyacinth is a well-known invasive weed in lakes across the world and harms the aquatic environment. Since 2011, the weed has invaded Lake Tana substantially posing a challenge to the ecosystem services of the lake. The major factors which affect the growth of the weed are phosphorus, nitrogen, temperature, pH, salinity, and lake depth. Understanding and investigating the hotspot areas is vital to predict the areas for proper planning of interventions. The main objective of this study is therefore to predict the hotspot areas of the water hyacinth over the surface of the lake using the geographical information system (GIS)-based multi-criteria evaluation (MCE) technique. The main parameters used in the multi-criteria analysis were total phosphorus (>0.08 mg L−1), total nitrogen (>1.1 mg L−1), temperature (<26.2 °C), pH (<8.6), salinity (<0.011%), and depth (<6 m). These parameters were collected from 143 sampling sites on the lake in August, December (2016), and March (2017). Fuzzy overlay spatial analysis was used to overlay the different parameters to obtain the final prediction map of water hyacinth infestation areas. The results indicated that 24,969 ha (8.1%), 21,568.7 ha (7.1%), and 24,036 ha (7.9%) of the lake are susceptible to invasion by the water hyacinth in August, December, and March, respectively. At the maximum historical lake level, 30,728.4 ha will be the potential susceptible area for water hyacinth growth and expansion at the end of the rainy season in August. According to the result of this study, the north and northeastern parts of the lake are highly susceptible for invasion. Hence, water hyacinth management and control plans shall mainly focus on the north and northeastern part of Lake Tana and upstream contributing watersheds.