The hydrodynamic behaviour of a sloped phreatic aquifer in the Tigray Highlands in northern Ethiopia is described. The aquifer is situated in the soils of a plateau on top of a basalt sequence and lies on steep slopes; the latter lead to hydraulic gradients that can cause high discharge fluxes. Distinct wet and dry seasons characterize the climate of the Tigray Highlands and recharge is absent during the dry season. Because of the fertile vertisols that have developed, the plateau is heavily cultivated and thus has great local economic, and hence social, importance. Water for land irrigation is almost exclusively delivered by rainfall, which is largely restricted to the period June–September. During the dry season, the water table drops dramatically and the aquifer drains nearly completely, under the strong gravity-driven, sustained discharges. This study strives to give insights into recharge and discharge mechanisms of the aquifer, in order to improve the effectiveness of the implemented water conservation measures.