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Water 2015, 7(6), 3040-3056; doi:10.3390/w7063040

Effects of Land Use and Climate Change on Groundwater and Ecosystems at the Middle Reaches of the Tarim River Using the MIKE SHE Integrated Hydrological Model

1
DHI-WASY GmbH, Branch Office Munich, Breslauer Weg 74, Geretsried 82538, Germany
2
Hydrology and River Basin Management, Technical University of Munich (TUM), Arcisstrasse 21, Munich 80333, Germany
3
Key Laboratory of Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang University, Sheng Li Road 14, Urumqi, Xinjiang 830046, China
4
Faculty of Geography and Mathematics, Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, Ostenstraße 14, Eichstätt 85071, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Miklas Scholz
Received: 28 April 2015 / Revised: 10 June 2015 / Accepted: 11 June 2015 / Published: 19 June 2015
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Abstract

The Tarim basin is a unique ecosystem. The water from the Tarim River supports both wildlife and humans. To analyze the effects of both land use and climate changes on groundwater, a research site was established at Yingibazar, which is a river oasis along the middle section of the Tarim River. A hydrological survey was performed to assess the general water cycle in this area with special emphasis on groundwater replenishment as well as the impact of agricultural irrigation on the riparian natural vegetation with respect to salt transport and depth of groundwater. Although high-resolution input data is scarce for this region, simulation of water cycle processes was performed using the hydrological model MIKE SHE (DHI). The results of the calibrated model show that natural flooding is the major contributor to groundwater recharge. There is also a close interaction between irrigated agricultural areas and the adjacent natural vegetation for groundwater levels and salinity up to 300 m away from the fields. Furthermore, the source of water used for irrigation (i.e., river and/or groundwater) has a high impact on groundwater levels and salt transportation efficiency. The ongoing expansion of agricultural areas is rapidly destroying natural vegetation, floodplains, and their natural flow paths. Our results show that more unstable annual Tarim floods will occur in the future under the background of climate change. Therefore, integrated hydrological simulations were also performed for 2050 and 2100 using MIKE SHE. The results confirm that after the glaciers melt in the Tian Shan Mountains, serious aquifer depletion and environmental degradation will occur in the area, causing great difficulties for the local people. View Full-Text
Keywords: MIKE SHE; integrated hydrological modelling; groundwater recharge; integrated water resources management; climate and land use scenarios; Tarim River basin MIKE SHE; integrated hydrological modelling; groundwater recharge; integrated water resources management; climate and land use scenarios; Tarim River basin
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Keilholz, P.; Disse, M.; Halik, Ü. Effects of Land Use and Climate Change on Groundwater and Ecosystems at the Middle Reaches of the Tarim River Using the MIKE SHE Integrated Hydrological Model. Water 2015, 7, 3040-3056.

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