Impacts of Climate Change and Anthropogenic Activities on the Spatio-Temporal Variability of River Flow

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water and Climate Change".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2021) | Viewed by 25055

Special Issue Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In many regions of the world, the flows in rivers have profoundly changed as a result of human activities, including damming, urbanization, agriculture, deforestation, irrigation, withdrawals, and diversions. The pace of some of these changes has increased as a result of current climate change. Thus, the frequency, duration, and flow intensity of many rivers in certain regions of the world have increased, whereas in other parts of the world, changes in streamflow arising from climate change have led to the increased frequency, duration, and intensity of hydrological droughts. All of these changes have socioeconomic impacts, including increasingly high financial and human costs. From an ecological standpoint, the impacts of these changes in streamflow generally translate into lower biodiversity in fluvial ecosystems. The main goal of this Special Issue is to bring together studies looking into the impacts of human activity and climate change on streamflow characteristics (magnitude, duration, timing, frequency, and variability) in different regions of the world.

Prof. Dr. Ali A. Assani
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Streamflow
  • Dams and reservoirs
  • Agriculture
  • Deforestation
  • Urbanization
  • Irrigation
  • Diversion
  • Climate change

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

15 pages, 3519 KiB  
Article
Comparison of Seasonal Flow Rate Change Indices Downstream of Three Types of Dams in Southern Quebec (Canada)
by Francis Delisle and Ali Arkamose Assani
Water 2021, 13(18), 2555; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13182555 - 17 Sep 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1666
Abstract
The objective of this study is to use two hydrological indices (coefficients of variation and immoderation) to analyze the impacts of dam management methods on seasonal daily flow rate change downstream of three dams: Manouane (diversion-type management method), Ouareau (natural-type management method) and [...] Read more.
The objective of this study is to use two hydrological indices (coefficients of variation and immoderation) to analyze the impacts of dam management methods on seasonal daily flow rate change downstream of three dams: Manouane (diversion-type management method), Ouareau (natural-type management method) and Matawin (inversion-type management method). The results show that this change is far greater downstream of the Matawin dam (characterized by an inversion-type management method) than downstream of the two other dams. Moreover, downstream of the Matawin dam, this daily flow rate change increases significantly over time, while decreasing downstream of the two other dams and in natural rivers. Lastly, this change is better correlated with climate downstream of the Ouareau dam than downstream of the two other dams. It is positively correlated with winter and spring temperatures as well as summer and fall rain. Contrary commonly accepted hypothesis, this study shows that the impacts of dams generally result in an increase of the seasonal flow rate change in Quebec. Full article
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26 pages, 6590 KiB  
Article
Detection of Spatial Shift in Flood Regime of the Kabul River Basin in Pakistan, Causes, Challenges, and Opportunities
by Asif Mehmood, Shaofeng Jia, Aifeng Lv, Wenbin Zhu, Rashid Mahmood, Muhammad Saifullah and Rana Muhammad Adnan
Water 2021, 13(9), 1276; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13091276 - 30 Apr 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3721
Abstract
Recent evidence of regional climate change impacts on hydrological cycle directed us to study the floods in a high elevated and rapidly urbanized river basin, the Kabul River basin (KRB), Pakistan, which is susceptible to frequent flooding. Therefore, we analyzed the changes in [...] Read more.
Recent evidence of regional climate change impacts on hydrological cycle directed us to study the floods in a high elevated and rapidly urbanized river basin, the Kabul River basin (KRB), Pakistan, which is susceptible to frequent flooding. Therefore, we analyzed the changes in flood regime at various spatial and temporal scales and their possible causes, which is accomplished by using flood indicators, trend analysis, change point analysis, and hydrological modeling. The results showed that the northern and northwestern parts of the KRB were more exposed to flood hazard than the southern parts under long-term scenario (1961/64-2015). However, after the change points, the flood risk decreased in the northern and increased in the southern regions. This spatial shift increased the vulnerability of population to the flood hazard, because the majority of population resides in the southern region. The extreme precipitation has also increased, especially the maximum one-day rainfall and maximum five-day rainfall throughout the basin. Particularly, the major cause of the decrease in different flood indicators in the northern parts of the KRB is the corresponding decrease in the annual and monsoonal rainfall and corresponding positive mass balance of glaciers in the northern region after the occurrence of change point in flood regime. However, the major cause of the increase in flood hazard on the southern part of the KRB is associated with maximum five-day rainfall. A 68% variability of annual maximum flood for the Kabul River at Nowshera and an 84% variability of annual maximum flood for Bara River at Jhansi post are explained by maximum five-day rainfall. In addition, a considerable decrease in forests (–5.21%) and increase in the urban area (88.26%) from 1992–2015 also amplifies the risk of higher flood peaks. The results of hydrological modeling suggest that the six-hourly flood peak increased by 6.85% (1992–2010) and 4.81% (2010–2015) for the extreme flood of 2010 for the Kabul River at Nowshera. The flood peak per decade will increase by 8.6%, as compared to the flood peak under the land use scenario of 2010. Therefore, consideration of proper land use planning is crucial for sustainable flood management in the KRB. Full article
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20 pages, 6455 KiB  
Article
Unravelling Climate and Anthropogenic Forcings on the Evolution of Surface Water Resources in Southern France
by Camille Labrousse, Wolfgang Ludwig, Sébastien Pinel, Mahrez Sadaoui and Guillaume Lacquement
Water 2020, 12(12), 3581; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12123581 - 20 Dec 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3429
Abstract
In the Mediterranean, climate change and human pressures are expected to significantly impact the availability of surface water resources. In order to quantify these impacts during the last 60 years (1959–2018), we examined the hydro-climatic and land use change evolution in six coastal [...] Read more.
In the Mediterranean, climate change and human pressures are expected to significantly impact the availability of surface water resources. In order to quantify these impacts during the last 60 years (1959–2018), we examined the hydro-climatic and land use change evolution in six coastal river basins of the Gulf of Lion in southern France. By combining observed water discharge, gridded climate, mapped land use and agricultural censuses data, we propose a statistical regression model which successfully reproduces the variability of annual water discharge in all basins. Our results clearly demonstrate that, despite important anthropogenic water withdrawals for irrigation, climate change is the major driver for the detected reduction of water discharge. The model can explain 78–88% of the variability of annual water discharge in the study catchments. It requires only two climatic indices that are solely computed from monthly temperature (T) and precipitation (P) data, thus allowing the estimation of the respective contributions of both parameters in the detected changes. According to our results, the study region experienced on average a warming trend of 1.6 °C during the last 60 years which alone was responsible for a reduction of almost 25% of surface water resources. Full article
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25 pages, 6484 KiB  
Article
Hydrologic Model Evaluation and Assessment of Projected Climate Change Impacts Using Bias-Corrected Stream Flows
by Joseph A. Daraio
Water 2020, 12(8), 2312; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12082312 - 18 Aug 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2639
Abstract
Hydrologic models driven by downscaled meteorologic data from general circulation models (GCM) should be evaluated using long-term simulations over a historical period. However, simulations driven by GCM data cannot be directly evaluated using observed flows, and the confidence in the results can be [...] Read more.
Hydrologic models driven by downscaled meteorologic data from general circulation models (GCM) should be evaluated using long-term simulations over a historical period. However, simulations driven by GCM data cannot be directly evaluated using observed flows, and the confidence in the results can be relatively low. The objectives of this paper were to bias correct simulated stream flows from calibrated hydrologic models for two basins in New Jersey, USA, and evaluate model performance in comparison to uncorrected simulations. Then, we used stream flow bias correction and flow duration curves (FDCs) to evaluate and assess simulations driven by statistically downscaled GCMs for the historical period and the future time slices 2041–2070 and 2071–2099. Bias correction of stream flow from simulations increased confidence in the performance of two previously calibrated hydrologic models. Results indicated there was no difference in projected FDCs for uncorrected and bias-corrected flows in one basin, while this was not the case in the second basin. This result provided greater confidence in projected stream flow changes in the former basin and implied more uncertainty in projected stream flows in the latter. Applications in water resources can use the methods described to evaluate the performance of GCM-driven simulations and assess the potential impacts of climate change with an appropriate level of confidence in the model results. Full article
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20 pages, 4294 KiB  
Article
Examining Water Area Changes Accompanying Dam Construction in the Madeira River in the Brazilian Amazon
by Dengqiu Li, Dengsheng Lu, Emilio Moran and Ramon Felipe Bicudo da Silva
Water 2020, 12(7), 1921; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12071921 - 06 Jul 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2960
Abstract
Two recently constructed run-of-the-river dams (Santo Antônio and Jirau), along the Madeira River in Brazil, have been controversial due to their large unquantified impacts on (1) land use and land cover (LULC) and (2) on the area that would be flooded. Based on [...] Read more.
Two recently constructed run-of-the-river dams (Santo Antônio and Jirau), along the Madeira River in Brazil, have been controversial due to their large unquantified impacts on (1) land use and land cover (LULC) and (2) on the area that would be flooded. Based on annual LULC data from 1985 to 2017, this study integrated intensity analysis and difference components methods to analyze the impacts of the two dams on the annual flooded area in upstream, midstream, and downstream regions of the Madeira River. The dam construction significantly influenced LULC change intensity in the upstream and midstream regions since 2011 and 2010, respectively. An increase of 18.5% of the newly flooded area (462.58 km2) in the post-dam construction period was observed. The water gross gain intensity was active during 2011–2017 and 2011–2014 in upstream and midstream, respectively. The dominant difference components of water change were exchanged in the pre-dam period and became quantity in the post-dam period for both upstream and midstream regions. Forest was the major land category replaced by water; however, the highest gain intensities occurred in other non-vegetated areas in upstream and midstream. This study provided a useful approach for characterizing impacts of dam construction on water area change. Full article
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31 pages, 53745 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Ecological and Hydro-Geomorphological Alterations under Climate Change Using SWAT and IAHRIS in the Eo River in Northern Spain
by Julio Pérez-Sánchez, Javier Senent-Aparicio, Carolina Martínez Santa-María and Adrián López-Ballesteros
Water 2020, 12(6), 1745; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12061745 - 18 Jun 2020
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 3097
Abstract
Magnitude and temporal variability of streamflow is essential for natural biodiversity and the stability of aquatic environments. In this study, a comparative analysis between historical data (1971–2013) and future climate change scenarios (2010–2039, 2040–2069 and 2070–2099) of the hydrological regime in the Eo [...] Read more.
Magnitude and temporal variability of streamflow is essential for natural biodiversity and the stability of aquatic environments. In this study, a comparative analysis between historical data (1971–2013) and future climate change scenarios (2010–2039, 2040–2069 and 2070–2099) of the hydrological regime in the Eo river, in the north of Spain, is carried out in order to assess the ecological and hydro-geomorphological risks over the short-, medium- and long-term. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model was applied on a daily basis to assess climate-induced hydrological changes in the river under five general circulation models and two representative concentration pathways. Statistical results, both in calibration (Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency coefficient (NSE): 0.73, percent bias (PBIAS): 3.52, R2: 0.74) and validation (NSE: 0.62, PBIAS: 6.62, R2: 0.65), are indicative of the SWAT model’s good performance. The ten climate scenarios pointed out a reduction in rainfall (up to −22%) and an increase in temperatures, both maximum (from +1 to +7 °C) and minimum ones (from +1 to +4 °C). Predicted flow rates resulted in an incrementally greater decrease the longer the term is, varying between −5% (in short-term) and −53% (in long-term). The free software IAHRIS (Indicators of Hydrologic Alteration in Rivers) determined that alteration for usual values remains between excellent and good status and from good to moderate in drought values, but flood values showed a deficient regime in most scenarios, which implies an instability of river morphology, a progressive reduction in the section of the river and an advance of aging of riparian habitat, endangering the renewal of the species. Full article
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14 pages, 3450 KiB  
Article
Feasibility of Multi-Year Forecast for the Colorado River Water Supply: Time Series Modeling
by Brian Plucinski, Yan Sun, S.-Y. Simon Wang, Robert R. Gillies, James Eklund and Chih-Chia Wang
Water 2019, 11(12), 2433; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11122433 - 20 Nov 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3471
Abstract
The future of the Colorado River water supply (WS) affects millions of people and the US economy. A recent study suggested a cross-basin correlation between the Colorado River and its neighboring Great Salt Lake (GSL). Following that study, the feasibility of using the [...] Read more.
The future of the Colorado River water supply (WS) affects millions of people and the US economy. A recent study suggested a cross-basin correlation between the Colorado River and its neighboring Great Salt Lake (GSL). Following that study, the feasibility of using the previously developed multi-year prediction of the GSL water level to forecast the Colorado River WS was tested. Time-series models were developed to predict the changes in WS out to 10 years. Regressive methods and the GSL water level data were used for the depiction of decadal variability of the Colorado River WS. Various time-series models suggest a decline in the 10-year averaged WS since 2013 before starting to increase around 2020. Comparison between this WS prediction and the WS projection published in a 2012 government report (derived from climate models) reveals a widened imbalance between supply and demand by 2020, a tendency that is confirmed by updated WS observation. Such information could aid in management decision-making in the face of near-future water shortages. Full article
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15 pages, 521 KiB  
Article
Identifying Climate and Human Impact Trends in Streamflow: A Case Study in Uruguay
by Rafael Navas, Jimena Alonso, Angela Gorgoglione and R. Willem Vervoort
Water 2019, 11(7), 1433; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11071433 - 12 Jul 2019
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3333
Abstract
Land use change is an important driver of trends in streamflow. However, the effects are often difficult to disentangle from climate effects. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate that trends in streamflow can be identified by analysing residuals of rainfall-runoff simulations [...] Read more.
Land use change is an important driver of trends in streamflow. However, the effects are often difficult to disentangle from climate effects. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate that trends in streamflow can be identified by analysing residuals of rainfall-runoff simulations using a Generalized Additive Mixed Model. This assumes that the rainfall-runoff model removes the average climate forcing from streamflow. The case study involves the Santa Lucía river (Uruguay), the GR4J rainfall-runoff model, three nested catchments ranging from 690 to 4900 km 2 and 35 years of observations (1981–2016). Two exogenous variables were considered to influence the streamflow. Using satellite data, growth in forest cover was identified, while the growth in water licenses was obtained from the water authority. Depending on the catchment, effects of land use change differ, with the largest catchment most impacted by afforestation, while the middle size catchment was more influenced by the growth in water licenses. Full article
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