The expected influences of climate alteration on hydrological responses in the Gibe Gojeb catchment, southwestern Ethiopia, were evaluated using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model and regional climate models (RCMs). This study emphasizes the evaluation of the climate change impact on hydrological responses. The RCM data were downloaded from CORDEX-Africa. Power transformation and delta change methods were used for bias correction of precipitation and temperature, respectively. The calibration and validation of the SWAT model showed good agreement, and climate change impact was simulated. Accordingly, precipitation, soil water content, percolation, water yield, and groundwater are projected to decrease by 28.18, 7.5, 9.1, 5.4, and 9.2%, respectively, under RCP4.5 in the future (2021–2050). Besides, surface runoff and potential and actual evapotranspiration are projected to increase by 17.4, 11.32, and 5.06%, respectively. Soil water content, percolation, water yield, and precipitation are projected to decrease by 10.51, 5.63, 2.76, and 21.57%, respectively, under RCP8.5 in the future. Rain-fed crop production and hydropower generation in the catchment would be highly vulnerable to the likely effects of climate change. The attained results help to develop effective adaptation measures to reduce the ongoing impacts of climate change and draft long-term water resource management plans in the Gibe Gojeb catchment.

  • The study employed regional climate and SWAT models.

  • The change in temperature and rainfall impacted the hydrological responses.

  • The baseline and forthcoming (2030s) hydrological components were compared to indicate the change.

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