Urbanization poses a challenge to sustainable catchment management worldwide. This study compares streamflows and nutrient loads in the urbanized Torrens catchment in South Australia at present and future urbanization levels, and addresses possible mitigation of urbanization effects by means of the control measures: river bank stabilization, buffer strip expansion, and wetland construction. A scenario analysis by means of the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) based on the anticipated urban population density growth in the Torrens catchment over the next 30 years predicted a remarkable increase of streamflow and Total Phosphorous loads but decreased Total Nitrogen loads. In contrast, minor changes of model outputs were predicted under the present urbanization scenario, i.e. urban area expansion on the grassland. Scenarios of three feasible control measures demonstrated best results for expanding buffer zone to sustain stream water quality. The construction of wetlands along the Torrens River resulted in the reduction of catchment runoff, but only slight decreases in TN and TP loads. Overall, the results of this study suggested that combining the three best management practices by the adaptive development of buffer zones, wetlands and stabilized river banks might help to control efficiently the increased run-off and TP loads by the projected urbanization of the River Torrens catchment.
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