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Climate Change Impacts on Hydrology and Water Resources Management

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Science and Engineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 February 2020) | Viewed by 28887

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Guest Editor
Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic University, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
Interests: evapotranspiration; Earth system modeling; climate impacts on hydrology on water resources; land–atmosphere interactions
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Guest Editor
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Headquarters
Interests: water management, hydrologic and hydraulic engineering, numerical modeling, water quality, climate change, floods and droughts

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Guest Editor
Water Security Program, CSIRO Environment, Black Mountain Science and Innovation Park, Canberra, Australia
Interests: coastal water and salinity management; agricultural water management; hydrology; food security; river basin management
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Climate change is one of the main challenges facing humanity in the 21st century, particularly through its impacts on water resources. It is already having a measurable effect on the water cycle, altering the amount, distribution, timing, and quality of available water. An integrated view of water and environmental flows is required to devise sustainable economic systems that will allow us to decelerate climate change, protect us from extremes and to adapt to the unavoidable at the same time.

This Special Issue seeks research papers related to the impacts of climate change on water resources, including availability and distribution of rainfall, snowmelt, river flows and groundwater, and further deteriorate water quality. Papers using spatial scales and methodological approaches (statistical, physical, GCMs, downscaling, hydrological modeling, etc.) to understand the water balance in changing climate as well as impacts of climate change on floods, droughts, and water management are also of interests.

Dr. Venkat Sridhar
Dr. Chandra S. Pathak
Dr. Mohammed Mainuddin
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Water resources
  • Hydrological modelling
  • Water management
  • Climate models

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

14 pages, 4125 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Runoff Trends and Drivers in the Haihe River Basin, China
by Huashan Xu, Yufen Ren, Hua Zheng, Zhiyun Ouyang and Bo Jiang
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(5), 1577; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17051577 - 29 Feb 2020
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 2570
Abstract
During the past decades, runoff has been highly influenced by climate change and human activities in Haihe River basin, and it is important to analyze the runoff trends and the drivers of its change to guide water resources management. The Mann–Kendall method and [...] Read more.
During the past decades, runoff has been highly influenced by climate change and human activities in Haihe River basin, and it is important to analyze the runoff trends and the drivers of its change to guide water resources management. The Mann–Kendall method and Pettitt test were conducted to analyze the hydrological and climate trends. Data from six sub-basins were used, including runoff at six representative hydrological stations and precipitation and air temperature at 49 meteorological stations. We used multiple-regression analysis and policy review to explore the influence of climate change and human activities on the runoff change at six sub-basins. According to the results, annual runoff showed a significant downward trend at six hydrological stations (p < 0.05), and the most probable change points at all stations showed up during the period from the late 1970s to the early 1980s. Moreover, the middle and late 1990s could be another probable abrupt change point at Luan River and Chaobai River. The declining trend of the annual mean precipitation at the six sub-basins was insignificant (p > 0.05), and there were no significant abrupt change points except the Zhang River area (p < 0.05). Compared with the precipitation trend, the annual mean air temperature exhibited a significant increasing trend at all stations, and the period from the late 1980s to the early 1990s might be the most probable abrupt change points at all four sub-basins. The trend analysis and the abrupt change point analysis suggest that mean air temperature is the main climate factor that will lead to the decline in the runoff time-series, while the insignificant downward trend of the precipitation might accelerate the downward trend of the runoff data. Through elevant policy measures, including land-use reform and the construction of the Three-North (north, northeast, and northwest China) Shelter Forest, China started to implement a family-contract responsibility system and initiated the first stage of construction of the Three-North Shelter Forest Program in 1978. The land-use reform policies greatly stimulated the peasants’ initiative for land management and significantly changed the land use pattern and water use quantity in the Haihe River basin in a short time. Besides, the precipitation decreased and the air temperature rose, so an abrupt change in runoff occurred from the late 1970s to the early 1980s. The abrupt change in the runoff in the middle and late 1990s highly tallied with the construction time of the Three-North Shelter Forest Program. After near 20 years of construction of the Three-North Shelter Forest Program, the forest area increased, the forest quality had been improved, and the vegetation coverage on the underlying surface had been changed significantly, so the construction of the Three-North Shelter Forest Program was an important cause of runoff change in the middle and late 1990s. Also, change in precipitation and air temperature enlarged the effect of change in the runoff. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change Impacts on Hydrology and Water Resources Management)
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14 pages, 4854 KiB  
Article
Hydrological Simulation for Predicting the Future Water Quality of Adyar River, Chennai, India
by Pankaj Kumar, Rajarshi Dasgupta, Manish Ramaiah, Ram Avtar, Brian Alan Johnson and Binaya Kumar Mishra
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(23), 4597; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16234597 - 20 Nov 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 4339
Abstract
Just a few decades ago, Adyar River in India’s city of Chennai was an important source of water for various uses. Due to local and global changes (e.g., population growth and climate change), its ecosystem and overall water quality, including its aesthetic value, [...] Read more.
Just a few decades ago, Adyar River in India’s city of Chennai was an important source of water for various uses. Due to local and global changes (e.g., population growth and climate change), its ecosystem and overall water quality, including its aesthetic value, has deteriorated, and the water has become unsuitable for commercial uses. Adverse impacts of excessive population and changing climate are expected to continue in the future. Thus, this study focused on predicting the future water quality of the Adyar river under “business as usual” (BAU) and “suitable with measures” scenarios. The water evaluation and planning (WEAP) simulation tool was used for this study. Water quality simulation along a 19 km stretch of the Adyar River, from downstream of the Chembarambakkam to Adyar (Bay of Bengal) was carried out. In this analysis, clear indication of further deterioration of Adyar water quality by 2030 under the BAU scenario was evidenced. This would be rendering the river unsuitable for many aquatic species. Due to both climate change (i.e., increased temperature and precipitation) and population growth, the WEAP model results indicated that by 2030, biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and Escherichia coli concentrations will increase by 26.7% and 8.3%, respectively. On the other hand, under the scenario with measures being taken, which assumes that “all wastewater generated locally will be collected and treated in WWTP with a capacity of 886 million liter per day (MLD),” the river water quality is expected to significantly improve by 2030. Specifically, the model results showed largely reduced concentrations of BOD and E. coli, respectively, to the tune of 74.2% and 98.4% compared to the BAU scenario. However, even under the scenario with measures being taken, water quality remains a concern, especially in the downstream area, when compared with class B (fishable surface water quality desirable by the national government). These results indicate that the current management policies and near future water resources management plan (i.e., the scenario including mitigating measures) are not adequate to check pollution levels to within the desirable limits. Thus, there is a need for transdisciplinary research into how the water quality can be further improved (e.g., through ecosystem restoration or river rehabilitation). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change Impacts on Hydrology and Water Resources Management)
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16 pages, 4675 KiB  
Article
Estimating the Responses of Hydrological and Sedimental Processes to Future Climate Change in Watersheds with Different Landscapes in the Yellow River Basin, China
by Xue Li, Jian Sha, Yue Zhao and Zhong-Liang Wang
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(20), 4054; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16204054 - 22 Oct 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2775
Abstract
This study concerned the sediment issue of the Yellow River basin. The responses of hydrological and sedimental processes to future climate change in two upland watersheds with different dominant landscapes were estimated. Four Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) scenarios with different radiative forcing levels [...] Read more.
This study concerned the sediment issue of the Yellow River basin. The responses of hydrological and sedimental processes to future climate change in two upland watersheds with different dominant landscapes were estimated. Four Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) scenarios with different radiative forcing levels were considered. The outputs of eleven Global Climate Models (GCMs) were used to represent the future climate status of the 2050s and 2070s, and an ensemble means was achieved to avoid uncertainty. The Long Ashton Research Station Weather Generator (LARS-WG) was employed to downscale the outputs of GCMs for future site-scale daily weather data estimations. The Generalized Watershed Loading Functions (GWLF) model was employed to model the streamflow and sediment yields under various scenarios and periods. The results showed that there would be generally hotter and wetter weather conditions in the future. Increased erosion and sediment yields could be found in the study area, with lesser increments in sediment in woodland than in cultivated field. The peak of sediment would appear in the 2050s, and integrated measures for sediment control should be implemented to reduce erosion and block delivery. The multi-model approach proposed in this study had reliable performance and could be applied in other similar areas with modest data conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change Impacts on Hydrology and Water Resources Management)
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22 pages, 14934 KiB  
Article
Effects of Slope Ecological Restoration on Runoff and Its Response to Climate Change
by Shan He, Tianling Qin, Fang Liu, Shanshan Liu, Biqiong Dong, Jianwei Wang and Hanjiang Nie
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(20), 4017; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16204017 - 20 Oct 2019
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2626
Abstract
Slope ecological restoration and climate change are important factors affecting the hydrological processes of the Huangshui River Basin in Qinghai province, China. How to quantitatively identify the impact of slope ecological restoration on runoff and whether slope ecological restoration can mitigate the impact [...] Read more.
Slope ecological restoration and climate change are important factors affecting the hydrological processes of the Huangshui River Basin in Qinghai province, China. How to quantitatively identify the impact of slope ecological restoration on runoff and whether slope ecological restoration can mitigate the impact of future climate change on runoff are both very important. In this paper, the Huangshui River above the center of Minhe county was taken as the research area, and the Pinus tabulaeformis and shrubs were taken as the main forest land types of slope ecological restoration. First, based on the law of forest land variation, the construction scales of slope ecological restoration in different periods were identified. The influence of slope ecological restoration on runoff was then quantitatively evaluated by using a distributed hydrological model. Second, the future climate scenarios of five general circulation models (GCMs) under three representative concentration pathways (RCPs) (i.e., RCP2.6, RCP4.5, and RCP8.5) from 2021 to 2050 were selected and modified by model integration. Combined with the slope ecological restoration scenarios, the influence of slope ecological restoration on runoff under future climate scenarios was explored. The results showed that the effect of slope ecological restoration was significant. Compared with 1980, the area of slope ecological restoration increased by 24% in 2017. Under the present climate conditions (1960–2017), different periods of slope ecological restoration have an effect on the process of runoff in the wet season (June, July, August, and September) and dry season (January, February, March, and December), which eliminates the maximum, replenishes the minimum, and reduces the variability of runoff processes in the watershed. Under the future climate scenario (2021–50), slope ecological restoration will reduce runoff. On the other hand, climate change will increase runoff, and the combination of the two effects will have a certain offsetting effect. On the whole, comparing the influence of slope ecological restoration on the runoff process with that of climate change in different seasons, due to the main influence of slope ecological restoration, the runoff decreased by about 55% in the temperate season (April, May, October, and November), and increased by about 50% in the dry season or wet season due to the main influence of future climate scenarios. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change Impacts on Hydrology and Water Resources Management)
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16 pages, 3375 KiB  
Article
Effects of Tidal Scenarios on the Methane Emission Dynamics in the Subtropical Tidal Marshes of the Min River Estuary in Southeast China
by Jiafang Huang, Min Luo, Yuxiu Liu, Yuxue Zhang and Ji Tan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(15), 2790; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16152790 - 05 Aug 2019
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3576
Abstract
In order to accurately estimate the effects of tidal scenarios on the CH4 emission from tidal wetlands, we examined the CH4 effluxes, dissolved CH4 concentrations, and environmental factors (including in situ pH, Eh and electrical conductivity, porewater SO42− [...] Read more.
In order to accurately estimate the effects of tidal scenarios on the CH4 emission from tidal wetlands, we examined the CH4 effluxes, dissolved CH4 concentrations, and environmental factors (including in situ pH, Eh and electrical conductivity, porewater SO42−, NO3, and NH4+) during inundation and air-exposure periods in high- and low-tide seasons in the Min River Estuary in southeast China. By applying static and floating chambers, our results showed that the CH4 effluxes during the inundation periods were relatively constant and generally lower than those during the air-exposed periods in both seasons. When compared, the CH4 effluxes during the air-exposed periods were significantly higher in the high-tide season than those in the low-tide season. In contrast, CH4 effluxes during the inundation periods were significantly lower in the high-tide season than those in the low-tide season. During the inundation periods, dissolved CH4 concentrations were inversely proportional to in situ Eh. Under air-exposed conditions, CH4 effluxes were proportional to in situ pH in both seasons, while the dissolved CH4 concentrations were negatively correlated with the porewater SO42− concentrations in both seasons. Our results highlighted that CH4 effluxes were more dynamic between inundation and air-exposure periods compared to low- and high-tide seasons. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change Impacts on Hydrology and Water Resources Management)
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18 pages, 2109 KiB  
Article
Water-Use Characteristics and Physiological Response of Moso Bamboo to Flash Droughts
by Minxia Zhang, Shulin Chen, Hong Jiang, Yong Lin, Jinmeng Zhang, Xinzhang Song and Guomo Zhou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(12), 2174; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16122174 - 19 Jun 2019
Cited by 29 | Viewed by 3418
Abstract
Frequent flash droughts can rapidly lead to water shortage, which affects the stability of ecosystems. This study determines the water-use characteristics and physiological mechanisms underlying Moso bamboo response to flash-drought events, and estimates changes to water budgets caused by extreme drought. We analyzed [...] Read more.
Frequent flash droughts can rapidly lead to water shortage, which affects the stability of ecosystems. This study determines the water-use characteristics and physiological mechanisms underlying Moso bamboo response to flash-drought events, and estimates changes to water budgets caused by extreme drought. We analyzed the variability in forest canopy transpiration versus precipitation from 2011–2013. Evapotranspiration reached 730 mm during flash drought years. When the vapor pressure deficit > 2 kPa and evapotranspiration > 4.27 mm·day−1, evapotranspiration was mainly controlled through stomatal opening and closing to reduce water loss. However, water exchange mainly occurred in the upper 0–50 cm of the soil. When soil volumetric water content of 50 cm was lower than 0.17 m3·m−3, physiological dehydration occurred in Moso bamboo to reduce transpiration by defoliation, which leads to water-use efficiency decrease. When mean stand density was <3500 trees·ha−1, the bamboo forest can safely survive the flash drought. Therefore, we recommend thinning Moso bamboo as a management strategy to reduce transpiration in response to future extreme drought events. Additionally, the response function of soil volumetric water content should be used to better simulate evapotranspiration, especially when soil water is limited. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change Impacts on Hydrology and Water Resources Management)
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17 pages, 6366 KiB  
Article
Water Productivity Evaluation under Multi-GCM Projections of Climate Change in Oases of the Heihe River Basin, Northwest China
by Liu Liu, Zezhong Guo, Guanhua Huang and Ruotong Wang
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(10), 1706; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16101706 - 15 May 2019
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2672
Abstract
As the second largest inland river basin situated in the middle of the Hexi Corridor, Northwest China, the Heihe River basin (HRB) has been facing a severe water shortage problem, which seriously restricts its green and sustainable development. The evaluation of climate change [...] Read more.
As the second largest inland river basin situated in the middle of the Hexi Corridor, Northwest China, the Heihe River basin (HRB) has been facing a severe water shortage problem, which seriously restricts its green and sustainable development. The evaluation of climate change impact on water productivity inferred by crop yield and actual evapotranspiration is of significant importance for water-saving in agricultural regions. In this study, the multi-model projections of climate change under the three Representative Concentration Pathways emission scenarios (RCP2.6, RCP4.5, RCP8.5) were used to drive an agro-hydrological model to evaluate the crop water productivity in the middle irrigated oases of the HRB from 2021–2050. Compared with the water productivity simulation based on field experiments during 2012–2015, the projected water productivity in the two typical agricultural areas (Gaotai and Ganzhou) both exhibited an increasing trend in the future 30 years, which was mainly attributed to the significant decrease of the crop water consumption. The water productivity in the Gaotai area under the three RCP scenarios during 2021–2050 increased by 9.2%, 14.3%, and 11.8%, while the water productivity increased by 15.4%, 21.6%, and 19.9% in the Ganzhou area, respectively. The findings can provide useful information on the Hexi Corridor and the Belt and Road to policy-makers and stakeholders for sustainable development of the water-ecosystem-economy system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change Impacts on Hydrology and Water Resources Management)
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19 pages, 13383 KiB  
Article
Changes in Major Global River Discharges Directed into the Ocean
by Xiaoqing Shi, Tianling Qin, Hanjiang Nie, Baisha Weng and Shan He
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(8), 1469; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16081469 - 25 Apr 2019
Cited by 26 | Viewed by 3500
Abstract
Under the influence of global climate change, the discharges of major global rivers directed into the ocean have undergone significant changes. To study the trends and causes in discharge variation, we selected 40 large rivers and analyzed their annual discharges near their estuaries [...] Read more.
Under the influence of global climate change, the discharges of major global rivers directed into the ocean have undergone significant changes. To study the trends and causes in discharge variation, we selected 40 large rivers and analyzed their annual discharges near their estuaries from 1960 to 2010. The method of runoff variation attribution analysis based on the Budyko hypothesis for large-scale basins was developed, in which influencing factors of human activities and glacial melting factors were added to the formula. The contribution rate of climate factors and human activities to changes in discharge were quantitatively identified. Climatic factors include precipitation, evapotranspiration and glacial melting. Human activity factors include underlying surface and artificial water transfer. The contribution rate is determined by the elastic coefficient, which is obtained by the ratio of change rate of each factor and the change rate of runoff. The results indicated that the discharges predominantly showed downward trends with a few upward trends. Rivers in North America and Africa showed downward trends, and those in Europe principally showed upward trends. Climate was the main influencing factor of discharges changes, and only approximately 25% of river discharges were greatly affected by human activities. River discharges in 75% of the basins which mainly contains subtropical monsoon humid climate and savanna climate zones showed upward trends. In the four basins which are mainly contains tropical rainforest climate and tropical monsoon climate, they all showed downward trends. The trend of discharges in the temperate monsoon climate, temperate continental climate, and temperate maritime climate cannot be accurately judged because of irregular variation. The discharges in the mid-high latitudinal zones predominantly showed upward trends, while those in the mid-low latitudinal zones with the influence of human activities showed downward trends. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change Impacts on Hydrology and Water Resources Management)
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21 pages, 6781 KiB  
Article
Study on Water Suitability of Apple Plantations in the Loess Plateau under Climate Change
by Xuerui Gao, Ai Wang, Yong Zhao, Xining Zhao, Miao Sun, Junkai Du and Chengcheng Gang
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(11), 2504; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15112504 - 08 Nov 2018
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2853
Abstract
With the implementation of the Grain for Green Project, the apple plantation area is increasing in Loess Plateau. However, due to severe water scarcity, the sustainability of apple tree growth is threatened. In this paper, we used meteorological data (1990–2013) and forecasted climate [...] Read more.
With the implementation of the Grain for Green Project, the apple plantation area is increasing in Loess Plateau. However, due to severe water scarcity, the sustainability of apple tree growth is threatened. In this paper, we used meteorological data (1990–2013) and forecasted climate data (2019–2050) to estimate water demand and establish a water suitability model to study the water balance between available water and water consumption of the apple trees. The results show that: (i) the order of the average water demand of apple plantation in each subarea is Shaanxi Province > Yuncheng area > Gansu Province > Sanmenxia Region, ranging from 500 to 950 mm; (ii) the temporal variability of water suitability from 1990 to 2013 is large, and the higher values are concentrated in the late growth stage of the apple trees and the lower values are concentrated in the early growth stage; (iii) the temporal and spatial distribution of water suitability is relatively stable and even in the Loess Plateau in the period of 2019–2050; (iv) the water suitability is mainly affected by effective precipitation and reference evapotranspiration and the reference evapotranspiration is mainly affected by the solar radiation (36%) and average temperature (38%). Furthermore, due to the joint influence of precipitation increases and solar radiation (average temperature) increases, the future water suitability of the apple plantation area in the Loess Plateau is showing a non-significant downward trend under RCP4.5 scenario. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change Impacts on Hydrology and Water Resources Management)
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