Water, Vol. 11, Pages 2059: Integrated Assessment of Climate Change and Land Use Change Impacts on Hydrology in the Kathmandu Valley Watershed, Central Nepal

Research paper by Lamichhane, Shakya

Indexed on: 26 Jan '21Published on: 02 Oct '19Published in: Water


The population growth and urbanization are rapidly increasing in both central and peripheral areas of the Kathmandu Valley (KV) watershed. Land use/cover (LULC) change and climate variability/change are exacerbating the hydrological cycle in the KV. This study aims to evaluate the extent of changes in hydrology due to changes in climate, LULC and integrated change considering both factors, with KV watershed in central Nepal as a case study. Historical LULC data were extracted from satellite image and future LULC are projected in decadal scale (2020 to 2050) using CLUE-S (the Conversion of Land Use and its Effects at Small regional contest) model. Future climate is projected based on three regional climate models (RCMs) and two representative concentration pathways (RCPs) scenarios, namely, RCP4.5 and RCP8.5. A hydrological model in soil and water assessment tool (SWAT) was developed to simulate hydrology and analyze impacts in hydrology under various scenarios. The modeling results show that the river runoff for RCP4.5 scenarios is projected to increase by 37%, 21%, and 12%, respectively, for climate change only, LULC only, and integrated changes of both. LULC change resulted in an increase in average annual flow, however, a decrease in base-flow. Furthermore, the impacts of integrated changes in both LULC and climate is not a simple superposition of individual changes.