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Special Issue "Impacts of Anthropogenic Activities on Watersheds in a Changing Climate"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 24 October 2019.

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Luís Filipe Sanches Fernandes

Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, CITAB - Centre for the Research and Technology of Agro-Environment and Biological Sciences, Vila Real, Portugal
Website | E-Mail
Interests: hydrologic modeling at catchment scale; water resources management and water quality data
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Fernando A.L. Pacheco

DG-CQVR-UTAD – Department of Geology, Chemistry Research Centre, University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Quinta de Prados, 5001–801 Vila Real, Portugal
Website | E-Mail
Interests: groundwater management; groundwater contamination risk; water–rock interactions; groundwater flow modeling; groundwater–surface water interactions; rainwater harvesting; land degradation and surface water quality; spatial decision support systems in water public supply planning

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In developed and developing countries, watersheds have been and are still subject to multiple anthropogenic pressures, at progressively accelerated paces. Meanwhile, the climate has changed and continues to change. Steadily increasing temperatures and decreasing precipitation in some regions are expressions of this change.The coupled influence of climate change and anthropogenic pressures, including land use changes, continue to produce a significant impact on watersheds, because both circumstances induce an amplification of hydrologic events, namely, floods, droughts, a decline in aquifer recharge, and the deterioration of water quality and ecosystems. The impact includes water erosion, a decline in soil fertility, a shortage of groundwater resources, and a disturbance of ecosystem functions, among others.

The purpose of this Special Issue is to allow authors the publication of rectrospective or prospective studies focused on the coupling of climate change and environmental impact assessments at the catchment scale. Studies on the direct influence of climate change on water resources are also welcome, as well as studies on the environmental impact of anthropogenic activities in multiple-use watersheds.

Prof. Luís Filipe Sanches Fernandes
Prof. Fernando António Leal Pacheco
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • watershed
  • climate change
  • anthropogenic pressures
  • water resources
  • environmental impact
  • ecosystems
  • hydrologic extreme event

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Hydrologic Impacts of Land Use Changes in the Sabor River Basin: A Historical View and Future Perspectives
Water 2019, 11(7), 1464; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11071464
Received: 3 July 2019 / Revised: 8 July 2019 / Accepted: 10 July 2019 / Published: 15 July 2019
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Abstract
The study area used for this study was the Sabor river basin (located in the Northeast of Portugal), which is composed mostly for agroforestry. The objectives were to analyze the spatiotemporal dynamics of hydrological services that occurred due to land use changes between [...] Read more.
The study area used for this study was the Sabor river basin (located in the Northeast of Portugal), which is composed mostly for agroforestry. The objectives were to analyze the spatiotemporal dynamics of hydrological services that occurred due to land use changes between 1990 and 2008 and to consider two scenarios for the year 2045. The scenarios were, firstly, afforestation projection, proposed by the Regional Plan for Forest Management, and secondly, wildfires that will affect 32% of the basin area. In this work, SWAT (Soil and Water Assessment Tool) was used to simulate the provision of hydrological services, namely water quantity, being calibrated for daily discharge. The calibration and validation showed a good agreement for discharge with coefficients of determination of 0.63 and 0.8 respectively. The land use changes and the afforestation scenario showed decreases in water yield, surface flow, and groundwater flow and increases in evapotranspiration and lateral flow. The wildfire scenario, contrary to the afforestation scenario, showed an increase in surface flow and a decrease in lateral flow. The Land Use and Land Cover (LULC) changes in 2000 and 2006 showed average decreases in the water yield of 91 and 52 mm·year−1, respectively. The decrease in water yield was greater in the afforestation scenario than in the wildfires scenario mainly in winter months. In the afforestation scenario, the large decrease varied between 28 hm3·year−1 in October and 62 hm3·year−1 in January, while in the wildfires scenario, the decrease was somewhat smaller, varying between 15 hm3·year−1 in October and 49 hm3·year−1 in January. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Human Activities on Hydrological Components in the Yiluo River Basin in Middle Yellow River
Water 2019, 11(4), 689; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11040689
Received: 4 March 2019 / Revised: 27 March 2019 / Accepted: 29 March 2019 / Published: 3 April 2019
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Abstract
Land use and land cover change (LUCC) and water resource utilization behavior and policy (WRUBAP) affect the hydrological cycle in different ways. Their effects on streamflow and hydrological balance components were analyzed in the Yiluo River Basin using the delta method and the [...] Read more.
Land use and land cover change (LUCC) and water resource utilization behavior and policy (WRUBAP) affect the hydrological cycle in different ways. Their effects on streamflow and hydrological balance components were analyzed in the Yiluo River Basin using the delta method and the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT). The multivariable (runoff and actual evapotranspiration) calibration and validation method was used to reduce model uncertainty. LUCC impact on hydrological balance components (1976–2015) was evaluated through comparison of simulated paired land use scenarios. WRUBAP impact on runoff was assessed by comparing natural (simulated) and observed runoff. It showed that urban area reduction led to decreased groundwater, but increased surface runoff and increased water area led to increased evaporation. LUCC impact on annual runoff was found limited; for instance, the difference under the paired scenarios was <1 mm. Observed runoff was 34.7–144.1% greater than natural runoff during November–June because of WRUBAP. The effect of WRUBAP on wet season runoff regulation was limited before the completion of the Guxian Reservoir, whereas WRUBAP caused a reduction in natural runoff of 21.6–35.0% during the wet season (July–October) after its completion. The results suggest that WRUBAP has greater influence than LUCC on runoff in the Yiluo River Basin. Based on existing drought mitigation measures, interbasin water transfer measures and deep groundwater exploitation could reduce the potential for drought attributable to predicted future climate extremes. In addition to reservoir regulation, conversion of farmland to forestry in the upstream watershed could also reduce flood risk. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Buffer Capacity of Riparian Vegetation to Control Water Quality in Anthropogenic Catchments from a Legally Protected Area: A Critical View over the Brazilian New Forest Code
Water 2019, 11(3), 549; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030549
Received: 10 February 2019 / Revised: 10 March 2019 / Accepted: 12 March 2019 / Published: 16 March 2019
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2776 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The riparian buffer width on watersheds has been modified over the last decades. The human settlements heavily used and have significantly altered those areas, for farming, urbanization, recreation and other functions. In order to protect freshwater ecosystems, riparian areas have recently assumed world [...] Read more.
The riparian buffer width on watersheds has been modified over the last decades. The human settlements heavily used and have significantly altered those areas, for farming, urbanization, recreation and other functions. In order to protect freshwater ecosystems, riparian areas have recently assumed world recognition and considered valuable areas for the conservation of nature and biodiversity, protected by forest laws and policies as permanent preservation areas. The objective of this work was to compare parameters from riparian areas related to a natural watercourse less than 10 m wide, for specific purposes in Law No. 4761/65, now revoked and replaced by Law No. 12651/12, known as the New Forest Code. The effects of 15, 30 and 50 m wide riparian forest in water and soil of three headwater catchments used for sugar cane production were analyzed. The catchments are located in the Environmental Protection Area of Uberaba River Basin (state of Minas Gerais, Brazil), legally protected for conservation of water resources and native vegetation. A field survey was carried out in the catchments for verification of land uses, while periodical campaigns were conducted for monthly water sampling and seasonal soil sampling within the studied riparian buffers. The physico-chemical parameters of water were handled by ANOVA (Tukey’s mean test) for recognition of differences among catchments, while thematic maps were elaborated in a geographic information system for illustration purposes. The results suggested that the 10, 30 or even 50 m wide riparian buffers are not able to fulfill the environmental function of preserving water resources, and therefore are incapable to ensure the well-being of human populations. Therefore, the limits imposed by the actual Brazilian Forest Code should be enlarged substantially. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Flood Vulnerability, Environmental Land Use Conflicts, and Conservation of Soil and Water: A Study in the Batatais SP Municipality, Brazil
Water 2018, 10(10), 1357; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10101357
Received: 12 September 2018 / Revised: 27 September 2018 / Accepted: 28 September 2018 / Published: 29 September 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3811 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In many regions across the planet, flood events are now more frequent and intense because of climate change and improper land use, resulting in risks to the population. However, the procedures to accurately determine the areas at risk in regions influenced by inadequate [...] Read more.
In many regions across the planet, flood events are now more frequent and intense because of climate change and improper land use, resulting in risks to the population. However, the procedures to accurately determine the areas at risk in regions influenced by inadequate land uses are still inefficient. In rural watersheds, inadequate uses occur when actual uses deviate from land capability, and are termed environmental land use conflicts. To overcome the difficulty to evaluate flood vulnerability under these settings, in this study a method was developed to delineate flood vulnerability areas in a land use conflict landscape: the Batatais municipality, located in the State of São Paulo, Brazil. The method and its implementation resorted to remote sensed data, geographic information systems and geo-processing. Satellite images and their processing provided data for environmental factors such as altitude, land use, slope, and soil class in the study area. The importance of each factor for flood vulnerability was evaluated through the analytical hierarchy process (AHP). According to the results, vast areas of medium to high flood vulnerability are located in agricultural lands affected by environmental land use conflicts. In these areas, amplified flood intensities, soil erosion, crop productivity loss and stream water deterioration are expected. The coverage of Batatais SP municipality by these vulnerable areas is so extensive (60%) that preventive and recovery measures were proposed in the context of a land consolidation–water management plan aiming flood control and soil and water conservation. Full article
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