This study was conducted to simulate the sediment yield and evaluate best management practices (BMPs) for sediment control in the Azuari watershed, Upper Blue Nile basin, Ethiopia using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model. As inputs for the model, 30 years (1991–2020) of daily values of meteorological data were used. For model simulation, daily stream flow and sediment data were collected for the periods from 1988 to 2012. The study area was delineated into 19 subwatersheds and the sediment yield was estimated in each subwatershed using the modified universal soil loss equation. The average simulated sediment yield in the watershed was found to be 10.81 t/ha/yr. Six subwatersheds were identified to have high to severe sediment yields and are considered hotspot areas which require prior mitigation measures to control sediment. Four soil and conservation measures were evaluated in SWAT as BMPs namely filter strip, terracing, strip cropping, and contouring. Filter strip was found to reduce sediment by 35.61%, terracing by 20.44%, strip cropping by 44.12%, and contouring by 43.6%. Thus, the implementation of strip cropping resulted in maximum sediment yield reduction. The findings of the study would help to make informed decisions on best watershed management strategies.

  • The sediment yields in 19 subwatersheds of the studied watershed were estimated.

  • Six subwatersheds were identified as hotspot areas.

  • Four best management practices were evaluated for the control of sediments in hotspot areas.

  • Identification of sediment-prone areas is required for efficient planning of watershed development.

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