Special Issue "Impact of Land-Use Changes on Surface Hydrology and Water Quality"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2021) | Viewed by 13722

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Carla Sofia Santos Ferreira
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Research Center for Natural Resources, Environment and Society (CERNAS), Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
Interests: land degradation; soil and water quality; surface hydrology; nature based solutions
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Zahra Kalantari
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Physical Geography and Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Interests: sustainable urban and rural development; climate change; water-related disasters and conflicts; adaptive land-use planning; nature-based solutions; and ecosystem services
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The world is facing major challenges to cope with an increasing population and consequent need for food, water, biomass, and energy. Land-use changes driven by urbanization, intensive agriculture, and extensive conversion of native forest into commercial plantations induce changes in hydrology through modifications of soil properties and water fluxes. These changes affect water availability (e.g., floods vs. drought) and quality (sediment, nutrients, and pollutant dynamics), threatening human wellbeing and both terrestrial and aquatic environments. This Special Issue aims to provide an overview of the most recent research on the impacts of land use change on surface hydrology and water quality, and to discuss the current and future management and planning issues facing global changes. Examples of topics to be included are:

  • The impact of land-use mosaic on landscape connectivity (sources, delivery pathways and sinks);
  • Impact of distinct agriculture management practices on runoff, sediment, and nutrient dynamics;
  • The role of forest management on runoff and water quality;
  • Influence of urbanization type and its spatial pattern on flow and sediment responses;
  • Emergent contaminants in water and sediments within areas affected by human activities;

Improvement of spatial planning and water management to mitigate the impacts of global changes on water-related hazards.

Dr. Carla Sofia Santos Ferreira
Prof. Zahra Kalantari
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • land-use changes
  • runoff processes
  • sediment dynamics
  • nutrient and contaminant fluxes
  • landscape connectivity
  • management
  • planning

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

Article
Hydrological Processes in Eucalypt and Pine Forested Headwater Catchments within Mediterranean Region
Water 2021, 13(10), 1418; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13101418 - 19 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2657
Abstract
Mediterranean headwater catchments have experienced major land-use changes in recent centuries, namely characterized by afforestation with fast-growing tree species (e.g., pine and eucalyptus). This paper investigates differences in the hydrological response of two forested catchments with distinct Pinus pinaster Aiton (PIN) and Eucalyptus [...] Read more.
Mediterranean headwater catchments have experienced major land-use changes in recent centuries, namely characterized by afforestation with fast-growing tree species (e.g., pine and eucalyptus). This paper investigates differences in the hydrological response of two forested catchments with distinct Pinus pinaster Aiton (PIN) and Eucalyptus globulus Labill. (EUC) covers over 6 hydrological years, from 2010 to 2016. The study was developed in paired catchments located in North–Central Portugal, under wet Mediterranean climate and schist bedrock. Based on rainfall and streamflow measurements, the hydrological responses were analyzed through the water-balance calculations, rainfall-runoff event analyses, and correlations between rainfall characteristics, evapotranspiration, soil moisture, overland flow, and land-cover parameters. The study period recorded a wide range of annual rainfall, between 984 and 2127 mm per years. The annual streamflow displayed greater inter-annual variation, from 208 to 1430 mm for PIN and from 217 to 1291 mm for EUC. The runoff coefficient was higher in the wettest years, with a maximum of 58% for PIN and 61% for EUC, and decreased substantially in the driest year, representing only 17% of the rainfall in PIN and 22% in EUC. Rainfall was predominant during the winter season (41%), followed by autumn (30%) and spring (24%). The streamflow displayed a seasonal behavior in both catchments, with higher runoff coefficient for EUC that for PIN. Half of the annual streamflow occurs during the winter, with the highest average runoff coefficient attained for EUC and PIN respectively being 68% and 64% of the rainfall amount. Annual evapotranspiration was relatively constant through the six years of study and showed higher average values in PIN (907 mm) than EUC (739 mm), highlighting the importance of forest type and showing that mature pine plantations lead to higher water consumption than eucalypt stands. Annual rainfall amount affects evapotranspiration rate (%), the percentage of ET increasing from 37% to 78% for PIN and from 34% to 73% for EUC between the wettest and the driest years, which raises concerns regarding the impact of climate changes on water availability in the mountain areas of the Mediterranean region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Land-Use Changes on Surface Hydrology and Water Quality)
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Article
A Planning Tool for Optimizing Investment to Reduce Drinking Water Risk to Multiple Water Treatment Plants in Open Catchments
Water 2021, 13(4), 531; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13040531 - 18 Feb 2021
Viewed by 804
Abstract
Supplying safe, secure, and reliable drinking water is a growing challenge particularly in regions where catchments have diverse land uses, rapidly growing populations, and are subject to increasing weather extremes such as in the subtropics. Catchments represent the first barrier in providing ecosystem [...] Read more.
Supplying safe, secure, and reliable drinking water is a growing challenge particularly in regions where catchments have diverse land uses, rapidly growing populations, and are subject to increasing weather extremes such as in the subtropics. Catchments represent the first barrier in providing ecosystem services for water quality protection and bulkwater suppliers are therefore investing in mitigation measures to reduce risk to drinking water quality for consumers. This paper presents an approach to combine data on erosion processes, pathogenic bacteria and protozoa from several sources, determine the highest risks from these hazards and identify an optimum portfolio of intervention activities that provide maximum risk reduction at water treatment plants (WTP) for a given budget using a simulated annealing optimizer. The approach is demonstrated in a catchment with six WTPs servicing small rural to urban populations. The catchment is predominantly used for agriculture. Results show that drinking water risk from protozoa can be reduced for most WTPs for moderate investment budget, while bacteria risk reduction requires significantly larger budget due to the greater number of significant source sites relative to protozoa. Total suspended sediment loads remain a very high risk to most of the WTPs due to the large extent of channel and gully erosion and landslides. A map of priority areas and associated suite of interventions are produced to guide on groundwork. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Land-Use Changes on Surface Hydrology and Water Quality)
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Article
Influence of Intensive Agriculture on Benthic Macroinvertebrate Assemblages and Water Quality in the Aconcagua River Basin (Central Chile)
Water 2021, 13(4), 492; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13040492 - 14 Feb 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1394
Abstract
This study assessed natural variation in the macroinvertebrate assemblages (MIB) and water quality in one of the main basins with the largest agricultural activities in Chile (Aconcagua River Basin). We sampled throughout the annual cycle; nine sampling sites were established along the basin, [...] Read more.
This study assessed natural variation in the macroinvertebrate assemblages (MIB) and water quality in one of the main basins with the largest agricultural activities in Chile (Aconcagua River Basin). We sampled throughout the annual cycle; nine sampling sites were established along the basin, classifying according to agricultural area coverage as least-disturbed, intermediate, and most-disturbed. We collected 56 macroinvertebrate taxa throughout the entire study area. Multivariate analysis shows significant differences among the three disturbance categories in different seasons, both water quality variables and the MIB structure. Distance-based linear model (DistLM) analysis for all seasons explained more than 95.9% of the macroinvertebrate assemblages, being significantly explained by chemical oxygen demand, pH, total coliforms, nitrites, elevation, and water temperature. ANOVA test revealed significant differences in the proportion of noninsect individuals, macroinvertebrates density, and the number of taxa among the three disturbance categories (p < 0.05). In general, water temperature, conductivity, chemical oxygen demand, ammonium, nitrites, and nitrates increased their values downstream in the basin. Our results indicate that the elevation gradient and increment in agricultural land use in the basin had a strong influence on water quality and MIB. A better understanding of these ecosystems could help conservation and integrated watershed management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Land-Use Changes on Surface Hydrology and Water Quality)
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Article
Impact of Land Use Change on Non-Point Source Pollution in a Semi-Arid Catchment under Rapid Urbanisation in Bolivia
Water 2021, 13(4), 410; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13040410 - 04 Feb 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1059
Abstract
Changes in pollution pressure exerted on the Rocha River in Bolivia from diffuse sources were assessed using potential non-point pollution indexes (PNPI) for 1997 and 2017. PNPI is a simple, low-effort, time- and resource-saving method suitable for data-scarce regions, as it works at [...] Read more.
Changes in pollution pressure exerted on the Rocha River in Bolivia from diffuse sources were assessed using potential non-point pollution indexes (PNPI) for 1997 and 2017. PNPI is a simple, low-effort, time- and resource-saving method suitable for data-scarce regions, as it works at catchment level with commonly available geographical data. Land use type (obtained by Landsat imagery classification), runoff (determined by runoff coefficient characterisation) and distance to river network (calculated at perpendicular distance) were each transformed into corresponding indicators to determine their relative importance in generating pollution. Weighted sum, a multi-criteria analysis tool in the GIS environment, was used to combine indicators with weighting values. Different weighting values were assigned to each of the indicators resulting in a set of six equations. The results showed that higher PNPI values corresponded to human settlements with high population density, higher runoff values and shorter distance to river network, while lower PNPI values corresponded to semi-natural land use type, lower runoff coefficient and longer distances to river. PNPI values were positively correlated with measured nitrate and phosphate concentrations at six sub-catchment outlets. The correlation was statistical significant for phosphate in 2017. Maps were produced to identify priority source areas that are more likely to generate pollution, which is important information for future management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Land-Use Changes on Surface Hydrology and Water Quality)
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Article
Inventory and Connectivity Assessment of Wetlands in Northern Landscapes with a Depression-Based DEM Method
Water 2020, 12(12), 3355; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12123355 - 30 Nov 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1200
Abstract
Wetlands, including peatlands, supply crucial ecosystem services such as water purification, carbon sequestration and regulation of hydrological and biogeochemical cycles. Peatlands are especially important as carbon sinks and stores because of the incomplete decomposition of vegetation within the peat. Good knowledge of individual [...] Read more.
Wetlands, including peatlands, supply crucial ecosystem services such as water purification, carbon sequestration and regulation of hydrological and biogeochemical cycles. Peatlands are especially important as carbon sinks and stores because of the incomplete decomposition of vegetation within the peat. Good knowledge of individual wetlands exists locally, but information on how different wetland systems interact with their surroundings is lacking. In this study, the ability to use a depression-based digital elevation model (DEM) method to inventory wetlands in northern landscapes and assess their hydrological connectivity was investigated. The method consisted of three steps: (1) identification and mapping of wetlands, (2) identification of threshold values of minimum wetland size and depth, and (3) delineation of a defined coherent area of multiple wetlands with hydrological connectivity, called wetlandscape. The results showed that 64% of identified wetlands corresponded with an existing wetland map in the study area, but only 10% of the wetlands in the existing map were identified, with the F1 score being 17%. Therefore, the methodology cannot independently map wetlands and future research should be conducted in which additional data sources and mapping techniques are integrated. However, wetland connectivity could be mapped with the depression-based DEM methodology by utilising information on upstream and downstream wetland depressions, catchment boundaries and drainage flow paths. Knowledge about wetland connectivity is crucial for understanding how physical, biological and chemical materials are transported and distributed in the landscape, and thus also for resilience, management and protection of wetlandscapes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Land-Use Changes on Surface Hydrology and Water Quality)
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Article
Short-Term Impact of Tillage on Soil and the Hydrological Response within a Fig (Ficus Carica) Orchard in Croatia
Water 2020, 12(11), 3295; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12113295 - 23 Nov 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1122
Abstract
Tillage is well known to have impacts on soil properties and hydrological responses. This work aims to study the short-term impacts of tillage (0–3 months) on soil and hydrological responses in fig orchards located in Croatia. Understanding the soil hydrological response in the [...] Read more.
Tillage is well known to have impacts on soil properties and hydrological responses. This work aims to study the short-term impacts of tillage (0–3 months) on soil and hydrological responses in fig orchards located in Croatia. Understanding the soil hydrological response in the study area is crucial for soil management due to frequent autumn floods. The hydrological response was investigated using rainfall simulation experiments (58 mm h−1, for 30 min, over 0.785 m2 plots). The results show that the bulk density was significantly higher 3 months after tillage than at 0 and 1 months. The water holding capacity and amount of soil organic matter decreased with time. The water runoff and phosphorous loss (P loss) increased over time. The sediment concentration (SC) was significantly higher 3 months after tillage than in the previous monitoring periods, while sediment loss (SL) and carbon loss (C loss) were significantly lower 0 months after tillage than 3 months after tillage. Overall, there was an increase in soil erodibility with time (high SC, SL, C loss, and P loss), attributed to the precipitation patterns that increase the soil water content and therefore the hydrological response. Therefore, sustainable agricultural practices are needed to avoid sediment translocation and to mitigate floods and land degradation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Land-Use Changes on Surface Hydrology and Water Quality)
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Article
Effectiveness of Nature-Based Solutions in Mitigating Flood Hazard in a Mediterranean Peri-Urban Catchment
Water 2020, 12(10), 2893; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12102893 - 16 Oct 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1531
Abstract
Urbanization alters natural hydrological processes and enhances runoff, which affects flood hazard. Interest in nature-based solutions (NBS) for sustainable mitigation and adaptation to urban floods is growing, but the magnitudes of NBS effects are still poorly investigated. This study explores the potential of [...] Read more.
Urbanization alters natural hydrological processes and enhances runoff, which affects flood hazard. Interest in nature-based solutions (NBS) for sustainable mitigation and adaptation to urban floods is growing, but the magnitudes of NBS effects are still poorly investigated. This study explores the potential of NBS for flood hazard mitigation in a small peri-urban catchment in central Portugal, prone to flash floods driven by urbanization and short but intense rainfall events typical of the Mediterranean region. Flood extent and flood depth are assessed by manually coupling the hydrologic HEC-HMS and hydraulic HEC-RAS models. The coupled model was run for single rainfall events with recurrence periods of 10–, 20–, 50–, and 100–years, considering four simulation scenarios: current conditions (without NBS), and with an upslope NBS, a downslope NBS, and a combination of both. The model-simulation approach provides good estimates of flood magnitude (NSE = 0.91, RMSE = 0.08, MAE = 0.07, R2 = 0.93), and shows that diverting streamflow into abandoned fields has positive impacts in mitigating downslope flood hazard. The implementation of an upslope NBS can decrease the water depth at the catchment outlet by 0.02 m, whereas a downslope NBS can reduce it from 0.10 m to 0.23 m for increasing return periods. Combined upslope and downslope NBS have a marginal additional impact in reducing water depth, ranging from 0.11 m to 0.24 m for 10– and 100–year floods. Decreases in water depth provided by NBS are useful in flood mitigation and adaptation within the peri-urban catchment. A network of NBS, rather than small isolated strategies, needs to be created for efficient flood-risk management at a larger scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Land-Use Changes on Surface Hydrology and Water Quality)
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Article
The Use of Straw Mulches to Mitigate Soil Erosion under Different Antecedent Soil Moistures
Water 2020, 12(9), 2518; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12092518 - 09 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1002
Abstract
Straw mulch cover is one of the most important soil erosion control measures applied to reduce runoff and soil loss in cultivated areas. However, in developing countries such as Iran, without a clear tradition or knowledge about soil erosion control measures, the use [...] Read more.
Straw mulch cover is one of the most important soil erosion control measures applied to reduce runoff and soil loss in cultivated areas. However, in developing countries such as Iran, without a clear tradition or knowledge about soil erosion control measures, the use of straw mulch is rare, and its impact in the most extended crops is not well understood. We investigated the separate and combined effects of colza (Brassica napus L.) and corn (Zea mays L.), to mitigate the activation of soil loss and runoff in sandy-loam soils, under different antecedent soil moisture conditions, in a rainfed plot in Northern Iran. Under laboratory conditions, we used a rainfall simulator device. The experiments were performed by using a rainfall intensity of 50 mm h−1, with a duration of 10 min and an inclination of 30%, with three replications. These conditions were used to evaluate the soils under extreme meteorological and topographical conditions. Two types of straw mulch, colza and corn, separated and combined with three different cover levels (25, 50 and 75%) and four distinct antecedent soil moisture conditions (0, 15, 20 and 30%), were used. The results showed that the applied straw mulches had significant effects on the reduction of soil loss and sediment concentration, by almost 99%. The maximum reduction of soil loss and sediment concentration was observed for the treatments with 0% moisture and 75% of corn, colza + corn and colza, with a reduction of 93.8, 92.2 and 84.9% for soil loss, respectively, and 91.1, 85.7 and, 60.7% for sediment concentration, respectively. The maximum reduction of runoff was also obtained with 0% soil moisture and a cover of 75%, reducing 62.5, 48.5 and 34.8% for colza, colza + corn and corn, respectively. The corn straw mulch showed the highest effectivity on reducing soil loss and sediment concentration toward colza treatment. But the colza straw mulch showed the best results on reducing runoff toward corn treatment. We conclude that the application of straw mulch is affordable and useful in reducing soil loss and runoff, instead of bare soils. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Land-Use Changes on Surface Hydrology and Water Quality)
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Article
Effects of Water Level Decline in Lake Urmia, Iran, on Local Climate Conditions
Water 2020, 12(8), 2153; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12082153 - 30 Jul 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1687
Abstract
Lake Urmia in northwestern Iran is the largest lake in Iran and the second largest saltwater lake in the world. The water level in Lake Urmia has decreased dramatically in recent years, due to drought, climate change, and the overuse of water resources [...] Read more.
Lake Urmia in northwestern Iran is the largest lake in Iran and the second largest saltwater lake in the world. The water level in Lake Urmia has decreased dramatically in recent years, due to drought, climate change, and the overuse of water resources for irrigation. This shrinking of the lake may affect local climate conditions, assuming that the lake itself affects the local climate. In this study, we quantified the lake’s impact on the local climate by analyzing hourly time series of data on climate variables (temperature, vapor pressure, relative humidity, evaporation, and dewpoint temperature for all seasons, and local lake/land breezes in summer) for the period 1961–2016. For this, we compared high quality, long-term climate data obtained from Urmia and Saqez meteorological stations, located 30 km and 185 km from the lake center, respectively. We then investigated the effect of lake level decrease on the climate variables by dividing the data into periods 1961–1995 (normal lake level) and 1996–2016 (low lake level). The results showed that at Urmia station (close to the lake), climate parameters displayed fewer fluctuations and were evidently affected by Lake Urmia compared with those at Saqez station. The effects of the lake on the local climate increased with increasing temperature, with the most significant impact in summer and the least in winter. The results also indicated that, despite decreasing lake level, local climate conditions are still influenced by Lake Urmia, but to a lesser extent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Land-Use Changes on Surface Hydrology and Water Quality)
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