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Water 2016, 8(12), 588; doi:10.3390/w8120588

Hydrological Responses to Land Use/Cover Changes in the Olifants Basin, South Africa

Department of Civil Engineering, Tshwane University of Technology, Private Bag X680, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Y. Jun Xu
Received: 22 October 2016 / Revised: 15 November 2016 / Accepted: 2 December 2016 / Published: 9 December 2016
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Abstract

This paper discusses the hydrological impacts of land use changes on the Olifants Basin in South Africa using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT). A three-phase land use scenario (2000, 2007 and 2013) employing the “fix-changing” method was used to simulate the hydrology of the Olifants Basin. Changes in land uses were related to different hydrological responses through a multi-regression analysis to quantify the effects of land use changes. Results reveal that from 2000 to 2013, a 31.6% decrease in rangeland with concomitant increases in agriculture lands (20.1%), urban areas (10.5%) and forest (0.7%) led to a 46.97% increase in surface runoff generation. Further, urbanization was revealed as the strongest contributor to increases in surface runoff generation, water yield and evapotranspiration (ET). ET was found to be a key water availability determinant as it has a high negative impact on surface runoff and water yield. Urbanization and agriculture were the most essential environmental factors influencing water resources of the basin with ET playing a dominant role. The output of the paper provides a simplistic approach of evaluating the impacts of land use changes on water resources. The tools and methods used are relevant for policy directions on water resources planning and adaptation of strategies. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydrologic response; land use change; multi-regression; Olifants Basin; SWAT model hydrologic response; land use change; multi-regression; Olifants Basin; SWAT model
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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

Gyamfi, C.; Ndambuki, J.M.; Salim, R.W. Hydrological Responses to Land Use/Cover Changes in the Olifants Basin, South Africa. Water 2016, 8, 588.

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