Streamflow in semiarid areas, especially in North China, was rapidly decreasing, which made it important to analyze the characteristics and influencing factors of streamflow. Using the hydro-meteorological data series of 1961–2017 in the upper Yongding River Basin (UYRB) (including the Yang River Basin (YRB) and Sanggan River Basin (SRB)), spatio-temporal variation characteristics of air temperature, precipitation, and potential evapotranspiration (E0
) were analyzed. The results showed that precipitation has no significant trend; the temperature showed a significant increase of 0.1–0.5 °C per decade; E0
showed a significant decrease of approximately −2 mm/10yr (in 18 stations); the estimated rates of streamflow change were −7 and −8 mm/10yr for SRB and YRB. As for spatial distribution, the YRB presented a higher E0
value than the SRB; the mountain areas had more precipitation than the plain areas. The change points of streamflow occurred in 1982 and 2003. Both the Budyko and the DMC methods were used to evaluate the impacts of climate change and human activities on the mean annual streamflow. In variation stage I (1983~2003), impacts of human activities account for 90.6% and 62.7% of the mean annual streamflow changes in YRB and SRB, respectively. In variation stage II (2004~2017), the percentages were 99.5% and 93.5%, respectively. It is also noted that the first change point in streamflow was indeed at the beginning of China’s land reform, when the farmers could manage their reallocated lands and, therefore, there was an increase in agricultural water consumption. The second change point coincided with “Capital Water Resources Planning”, including water conservation projects and irrigation district construction programs. In general, human activities were mainly responsible for the significant decline in the annual streamflow of UYRB. This paper will provide valuable results for water resources planning and give guidance on the construction of water conservation function areas and ecological environment support areas in the capital.
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.