Long-term runoff dynamics assessment measured through land use/cover (LULC) changes in a tropical complex catchment

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Journal Article
Environment Systems and Decisions, 2019, 39 (1), pp. 16 - 33
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© 2018, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature. The estimation of excess rainfall is critically important in water resource management as it provides the basis for calculating flood peak discharge that results in surface runoff. Kelantan River basin in Malaysia is a tropical catchment receiving heavy monsoon rainfall coupled with intense land use/cover (LULC) changes making the area consistently flood prone. The current study is therefore aimed to achieve the following goals: (1) to develop a curve number (CN) and runoff maps for 1984, 2002, and 2013 LULC conditions and (2) to determine runoff dynamics due to changes in LULC as well as to assess how the extent of LULC change will affect surface runoff generation. To achieve the aforementioned goals, land use maps corresponding to 1984, 2002, and 2014 LULC conditions were analyzed and prepared for the calculation of CN values using Soil Conservation Service (SCS-CN) method. CN and runoff maps corresponding to 1984, 2002, and 2013 LULC changes were successfully developed and the performance of the method was tested. The results indicated that forest was found to be the major land use type to have changed in all the LULC conditions across the watershed leading to intense runoff dynamics in the entire watershed. Higher runoff values were observed under 2013 LULC conditions across the watershed mainly due to intense deforestation relative to those of 1984 and 2002. The results of this study indicated that runoff generation is significantly affected by deforestation instead of changes in the rainfall pattern. The findings may be useful to water resource planners in controlling water loss for future planning.
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