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Water 2017, 9(1), 17; doi:10.3390/w9010017

Hydrological Modeling of the Upper Indus Basin: A Case Study from a High-Altitude Glacierized Catchment Hunza

1,2,* , 1,2,* , 1,2
,
1,3
and
1,2
1
State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China
2
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3
School of Remote Sensing and Information Engineering, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430079, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 August 2016 / Revised: 20 December 2016 / Accepted: 20 December 2016 / Published: 2 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hillslope and Watershed Hydrology)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [13172 KB, uploaded 2 January 2017]   |  

Abstract

The Soil andWater Assessment Tool (SWAT) model combined with a temperature index and elevation band algorithm was applied to the Hunza watershed, where snow and glacier-melt are the major contributor to river flow. This study’s uniqueness is its use of a snow melt algorithm (temperature index with elevation bands) combined with the SWAT, applied to evaluate the performance of the SWAT model in the highly snow and glacier covered watershed of the Upper Indus Basin in response to climate change on future streamflow volume at the outlet of the Hunza watershed, and its contribution to the Indus River System in both space and time, despite its limitation; it is not designed to cover the watershed of heterogeneous mountains. The model was calibrated for the years 1998–2004 and validated for the years 2008–2010. The model performance is evaluated using the four recommended statistical coefficients with uncertainty analysis (p-factor and r-factor). Simulations generated good calibration and validation results for the daily flow gauge. The model efficiency was evaluated, and a strong relationship was observed between the simulated and observed flows. The model results give a coefficient of determination (R2) of 0.82 and a Nash–Sutcliffe Efficiency index (NS) of 0.80 for the daily flow with values of p-factor (79%) and r-factor (76%). The SWAT model was also used to evaluate climate change impact on hydrological regimes, the target watershed with three GCMs (General Circulation Model) of the IPCC fifth report for 2030–2059 and 2070–2099, using 1980–2010 as the control period. Overall, temperature (1.39 C to 6.58 C) and precipitation (31%) indicated increased variability at the end of the century with increasing river flow (5%–10%); in particular, the analysis showed smaller absolute changes in the hydrology of the study area towards the end of the century. The results revealed that the calibrated model was more sensitive towards temperature and precipitation, snow-melt parameters and Curve Number (CN2). The SWAT results also provided reliable information for the daily runoff from the sub-basin watersheds responding to changing climatic conditions. SWAT can thus be used to devise effective strategies for future sustainable water management in the region, while combating vulnerabilities against floods and water storage in downstream water reservoirs such as the Diamer-Basha dam. View Full-Text
Keywords: Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT); hydrological modelling; Hunza river; Upper Indus Basin; snow and glacier-melt Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT); hydrological modelling; Hunza river; Upper Indus Basin; snow and glacier-melt
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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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Garee, K.; Chen, X.; Bao, A.; Wang, Y.; Meng, F. Hydrological Modeling of the Upper Indus Basin: A Case Study from a High-Altitude Glacierized Catchment Hunza. Water 2017, 9, 17.

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