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School of Biosystems and Environmental Engineering
The school of Biosystems and Environmental Engineering is composed of two bachelor programs and two masters degree programs. The two bachelor programs are BSc degree in Biosystems Engineering and BSc degree in Environmental Engineering. While the two Masters degree programs are MSc in Water Resources Engineering and Management and MSc in Soil and Water Conservation Engineering.
The mission of the school of Biosystems and Environmental Engineering is to produce qualified manpower in the area of Biosystems Engineering & Environmental Engineering who will be actively involved in planning, design, implementation and management in the respective professions and to produce high level qualified manpower in the area of Water Resources Engineering and Soil and Water Conservation Engineering who will be competent to design, develop and manage natural resources in the respective professions.
The vision of the school is to see enough and internationally competent man power on the area of Environmental Engineering, Water Resources Engineering and Soil and Water Conservation Engineering, Biosystems Engineering professions so that the country will develop in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.The profiles of the four programs are outlined below.
Biosystems Engineering BSc program
Advancement in agricultural science is greatly perhaps unbelievably complemented by engineering or rather by technical support from physical applied sciences. Engineering by itself is the science by which the properties of matter and the source of energy in nature are made useful to mankind in structures, machines and products. Biosystems Engineering is then the art and science of the application of engineering to the field of agriculture and agro processing.
Biosystems Engineering (BEng) embraces
- Study of mechanical power sources, engineering of tools, implements and machines, mechanization and processing; robotics, systems and control engineering,
- Study of natural resource conservation, management and sustainable utilization and information technology application in agriculture,
- Study of civil structures in the farm, soils, irrigation, hydraulic and hydraulic structures.
The major task of Biosystems Engineering (BEng) discipline is to apply technological and engineering tools that help to increase the agricultural production and efficiency, improve product quality, while preserving the quality of the environment. The main intention is to practice appropriate technologies in agriculture under conditions of scarce resources, develop and export new varieties of agricultural products, agriculture-related industrial products and systems, and advanced know-how.
Professional and graduate profile
Graduates of Biosystems Engineering:
- perform tasks as designing, planning, supervising and managing irrigation and drainage schemes,
- perform tasks as planning, supervising and managing flood and water control systems,
- develop ways to conserve and manage soil and water resources with the use of biological and physical interventions,
- apply engineering and technology to agricultural product handling and processing,
- design and manage farm implements and machineries,
- play a decisive role in watershed management
- plan, supervise and manage the building of farmstead structures
- perform tasks as planning, supervising and managing renewable energy resources,
- perform environmental impact assessment
- conduct applied research and interpret results and implement relevant practices based on the felt needs of the society,
- develop ways to improve the processing of feed and forage
A large percentage of Biosystems Engineering (BEng) graduates work in:
- Research institutes, academia or for government agencies such as in Agroprocessing industries, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development,
- Ministry of water Resources Development, Environmental Protection Agency, Regional Irrigation and Drainage Authorities and other Non-Governmental Organizations.
- Many are employed by manufacturers of agricultural machinery and equipment; working in production, sales, management, research and development
Environmental Engineering BSc program
Environmental engineering is the application of science and engineering principles to improve the environment (air, water, and/or land resources), to provide healthy water, air, and land for human habitation and for other organisms, and to remediate polluted sites.
Environmental engineering involves water and air pollution control, recycling, waste disposal, and public health issues as well as a knowledge of environmental engineering law. It also includes studies on the environmental impact of proposed construction projects.
Environmental engineers conduct hazardous-waste management studies to evaluate the significance of such hazards, advise on treatment and containment, and develop regulations to prevent mishaps. Environmental engineers also design municipal water supply and industrial wastewater treatment systems as well as address local and worldwide environmental issues such as the effects of acid rain, global warming, ozone depletion, water pollution and air pollution from automobile exhausts and industrial sources. Environmental "civil" engineers focus on hydrology, water resources management, bioremediation, and water treatment plant design. Environmental "chemical" engineers, on the other hand, focus on environmental chemistry, advanced air and water treatment technologies and separation processes.
The countries domestic and industrial waste management is at a heart breaking stage. Especially those industries like tannery and soap industries are noticeably producing very unpleasant wastes polluting the surrounding dwellers at the different parts of the country. Domestic solid and liquid waste management in urban areas are at unmanageable stage. There is an urgent need of managing such solid, liquid and gaseous wastes in environmentally sound way. The Department of Environmental Engineering at Hawassa University, Institute of Technology is established in 2010 to cater the needs of engineers trained to plan, design, construct, operate and maintain engineering works for managing such solid and liquid wastes.
The Environmental Engineering programme is one of the undergraduate degree programmes to be given in Institute of Technology of Hawassa University. The opening of the program is in tandem with the country’s efforts towards developing its environment in a sustainable way. The importance and need for planned development for environmental sustainability of Ethiopia can hardly be overemphasized.
The development of water resources which are in line with environmental sustainability must be a central element of the country’s strategy to improve the quality of life of the people. In light of this, the Government of Ethiopia has developed a 15-year Water Sector Development Programme (2002-2016) which includes the following program components: water supply and sewerage, irrigation and drainage, hydropower development, water resources and capacity building. Concerning water supply and sewerage, the country has given due attention to improving the situation by providing adequate and sustainable water supply and sewerage systems. This would improve the health conditions of citizens and release labor for productive engagement in other socio-economic activities. Particularly, the burden on women population, who spend a lot of their time carrying water for domestic uses, would greatly be reduced.
Environmental Engineering profession is more and more demanded as a number of environmentally polluting human activities are growing in the country. A lot of industrial and domestic wastes are produced daily and these wastes if they are not handled properly they are severely polluting the environment. The environmental engineer is expected to handle these vast problems to design engineering solutions so that the environment will be highly conducive to human habitation.
Educational objectives of the degree programme graduates of the Environmental Engineering will be expected to:
- design wastewater treatment plants
- monitor discharges for regulatory compliance
- operate systems for reducing and utilizing solid waste
- design municipal or hazardous waste disposal sites
- monitor air pollution and operating control equipment
- predict movement of contaminants in air, water, and soil
- devise contaminated site remediation schemes
- develop pollution control technologies for different industries
- respond to environmental emergencies such as oil spills
- develop environmental regulations
- design recycling and reuse technologies/processes for domestic and industrial solid and liquid wastes
- design environmentally friendly waste recycling industrial buildings and other structures
- apply their knowledge and skills as effective, productive water resources and environmental engineers within regional and federal agencies, municipalities, consulting engineering firms, as well as non-governmental organizations with planning, analysis, design and implementation of water resources, waste management and environmental engineering projects.
- work and communicate effectively with others on multi-disciplinary teams to develop practical, technically-sound, cost-effective solutions to complex and diverse environmental engineering problems;
- maintain an active program of life-long learning and continuing education while practicing environmental engineering in an ethical and professionally responsible manner;
- seek leadership roles as practitioners and become active members within professional and technical societies.
Water Resources Engineering and Management MSc program
Rationale for the Curriculum
Of the water added to the soil, either in the form of rainfall or irrigation, part is lost through runoff and direct evaporation at the soil surface. Runoff water collects in natural and constructed surface drains from where it finds its way to the final disposal site (a river, evaporation pond or outfall drain to the ocean or saline lake). The other part infiltrates into the soil. This water fills up the soil pores and restores the soil moisture content up to field capacity under free drainage. The stored water is now available for plant root extraction to satisfy the water requirement of the crop. Any water in excess of field capacity percolates below the root zone to greater depth. The deep percolation water may eventually serve as recharge to the groundwater or saturated zone. In irrigated areas with shallow groundwater tables, the recharge is immediate and causes the water table to rise. Where subsurface drainage is installed in waterlogged soils, the drainage system removes deep percolation and groundwater. Where the soil moisture content in the root zone drops as a result of evapotranspiration and if there is no recharge from irrigation or rainfall, capillary rise into the root zone might occur, depending on the water table depth, soil texture and structure, and seepage. In both directions excess water and deficit water applications have negative effects.
Water is becoming a very scarce commodity and hence effective use is the inevitably essential. Recent research results conducted on the rift valley soils of the region (Southern Nation Nationalities Peoples Region, SNNPR) reveal that it is not the nutrient deficiency which is mainly limiting production (yield per unit area) but water shortage. The spatial and time variability of precipitation in the region is very high. The precipitation depth shows 30 to 35% variability. Total loss of yield is not uncommon. In rain fed agriculture, besides looking for drought resistance crops, subsistence agriculture is only possible with proper and efficient use of the available water. Even in irrigated agriculture, where there is a long experience in government farms the overall water utilization efficiencies are notably very low (35 to 40%). There are a number small irrigation schemes which were constructed by the government (irrigation authority) in recent years to combat this water deficiency. But only 35% of the anticipated command area is under irrigation. There are a number of reasons for this low performance. Poor water management is the major problem.
Besides tapping other water resources to counteract the problem, a consolidated work is necessary to devise a mechanism to increase water productivity. In this reference, professionals addressing this gap are very rare and in this program it is intended to fill this gap. The Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia has demanded the improvement of Education to make it more relevant to local situations while having internationally acceptable standards. Therefore, the Ministry of Capacity Building of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, in partnership with the Federal Republic of Germany, launched Engineering Capacity Building Program. Engineering Education reform/overhaul which is being carried out in the Institute of Technology is among the four tasks of this program.
In general the curriculum was drafted with the objective of meeting knowledge and skill requirements of water managers stated in the professional profile. The draft curriculum is exhaustively discussed with stakeholders encompassing a wide spectrum and the feedback received and suggestions forwarded are deliberated and incorporated in the final draft of the curriculum.
Objectives and demand for the program
The program aims are
- to produce high level manpower qualified in Water Resources Engineering and Management,
- to promote appropriate technologies in sustainable use of water resources, protection of environment, rehabilitation of degraded land
- to enhance effective and efficient use of scare water resources focusing on improved water productivity
- to promote rural water supply and sanitation
- to develop and adapt technologies to conserve water and harvest water resources for their subsequent use in dry spell periods and dry climates
- to perform research relevant to effective use of water; generate data required for planning and management promote dissemination of proven technologies
Soil and Water Conservation Engineering MSc program
Rationale for the curriculum:
Soil erosion and moisture deficit is one of the biggest global environmental problems resulting in both on-site and off-site effects. The economic implication of soil erosion is more serious in developing countries because of lack of capacity to cope with it and also to replace lost nutrients. These countries have also high population growth which leads to intensified use of already stressed resources and expansion of production to marginal and fragile lands. Such processes aggravate erosion and productivity declines, resulting in a population-poverty-land degradation cycle.
Rapid population growth, cultivation on steep slopes, clearing of vegetation, and overgrazing are the main factors that accelerate soil erosion in Ethiopia. The annual rate of soil loss in the country is higher than the annual rate of soil formation rate. Annually, Ethiopia losses over 1.5 billion tons of topsoil from the highlands to erosion which could have added about 1.5 million tons of grain to the country’s harvest. This indicates that soil erosion is a very serous threat to food security of people and requires urgent management intervention.
To circumvent the impacts of erosion, it is important to know the severity of the problem and the main controlling factors. Since different portions of the landscape vary in sensitivity to erosion due to differences in their geomorphological, geological, and vegetation attributes, it is also necessary to study and identify erosion risk areas in order to plan site-specific management interventions. Depending on the prevailing erosion processes and controlling factors, the efficiency of soil conservation measures may vary.
Recent research results conducted on the rift valley soils of the region (Southern Nation Nationalities Peoples Region, SNNPR) reveal that it is not the nutrient deficiency which is mainly limiting production (yield per unit area) but water shortage. The spatial and time variability of precipitation in the region is very high. The precipitation depth shows 30 to 35% variability. Total loss of yield is not uncommon. In rain fed agriculture, besides looking for drought resistance crops, subsistence agriculture is only possible with proper and efficient use of the available water.
Besides tapping other water resources to counteract the problem, a consolidated work is necessary to devise a mechanism to increase water productivity. In this reference, professionals addressing this gap are very rare and in this program it is intended to fill this gap.
To facilitate this proposal, the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia has demanded the improvement of Education to make it more relevant to local situations while having internationally acceptable standards. Therefore, the Ministry of Capacity Building of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, in partnership with the Federal Republic of Germany, launched Engineering Capacity Building Program. Engineering Education reform/overhaul which is being carried out in the Faculty of Technology is among the four tasks of this program.
The Faculty of Technology, Hawassa University, working with the expert supplied by ecbp has developed the initial curriculum in 2008. In general the curriculum was drafted with the objective of meeting knowledge and skill requirement of soil and water conservation engineers stated in the professional profile. The draft curriculum then was forwarded to the accreditation institutes for comments and further development..
Objectives and demand for the program
The program aims
- to produce high level manpower qualified in soil and water conservation,
- promote appropriate technologies in sustainable use of soil and water resources, protection of environment, rehabilitation of degraded land
- enhance effective and efficient use of scare natural resources focusing on improved land productivity
- develop and adapt technologies to conserve water in-situ and at micro, macro level and harvest water resources for their subsequent use in dry spell periods and dry climates
- perform research in soil conservation, effective use of rain water; engineering aspects as well as socio-economic.
- promote dissemination of proven technologies
As being the one role player of Ethiopian Growth and Transformation Strategic Plan the school of Biosystems and Environmental Engineering has planned to perform various vital activities to serve the local community and nationwide as far as possible. Of these:
- Providing professional capacity building programs for the university as well as the local community,
- Developing various demonstrational and practical field sites that will aid the teaching-learning process to enhance the Technology Transfer in line with the curricular activity,
- Publish standard quality papers on reputed journals that will contribute for the country as well as internationally.
- Develop MSc Degree Curriculum in Mechanization of Sugar Industries
- Working with regional as well as the national governmental and nongovernmental organizations in the process of environmental protection and natural resources development,
- Instigate institutional consultancy, supervisory, and design service.
- And other related tasks.
Currently the academic staff of the school is composed of professionals with the following qualifications; Three (3) with PhD, thirteen (13) with Msc, Six (6) with Bsc Degrees and one (1) with Degree and three (3) with Diploma as technical assistants. Some of the academic staff members are on study leaves accordingly, Six (6) for PhD and Seven (7) for MSc Degrees.