SWAT Literature Database for Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Title:Evaluating Water Balance Variables under Land Use and Climate Projections in the Upper Choctawhatchee River Watershed, in Southeast US 
Authors:Makhtoumi, Y., S. Li, V. Ibeanusi and G. Chen 
Volume (Issue):12(8) 
Article ID:2205 
URL (non-DOI journals): 
Broad Application Category:hydrologic only 
Primary Application Category:climate change and land use change 
Secondary Application Category:hydrologic assessment 
Watershed Description:3,940 km^2 Upper Choctawhatchee River, a tributary of the Choctawhatchee River located in southeast Alabama, U.S. 
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Abstract:Changes in water balance variables are essential in planning and management. Two major factors affecting these variables are climate change and land use change. Few researches have been done to investigate the combined effect of the land use change and climate change using projections. In this study the hydrological processes in Upper Choctawhatchee River Watershed were modeled using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) to investigate the impacts of climate and land use change. We integrated land use projection based in the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways with future climate data to study the combined effects on Hydrological response of the watershed. Future rainfall and temperature, for two time periods, were obtained using General Climate Models to provide SWAT with the climatic forcing in order to project water balance variables. The simulation was carried out under two radiative forcing pathways of RCP4.5 and RCP6.0. Land use change focused on urbanization dominated the climate changes. Impacts on water balance variables differed seasonally. Results showed surface runoff experienced major changes under both emissions scenarios in some months up to 5 times increase. Among the water balance variables, evapotranspiration (ET) as the least dominant pathway for water loss showed the modest changes with the largest decrease during fall and summer. Projection indicated more frequent extreme behavior regarding water balance during midcentury. Discharge was estimated to increase through the year and the highest changes were projected during summer and fall with 186.3% increase in November under RCP6.0. Relying on rainfall for farming along with reduced agricultural landuse (11.8%) and increased urban area (47%) and population growth would likely make the water use efficiency critical. The model demonstrated satisfactory performance, capturing the hydrologic parameters. It thus can be used for further modelling of water quality to determine the sustainable conservation practices and extreme weather events such as hurricane and tropical storms. 
Keywords:hydrological modeling; land use change; climate change; forested watershed; Localized Constructed Analogs (LOCA); evapotranspiration