EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The hydrological response of soil water storage capacity to human activities: A case study in the upper Yangtze River Basin, China

Xiaojing Zhang1,2, Pan Liu1,2, and Chong-Yu Xu3
Xiaojing Zhang et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering Science, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China
  • 2Hubei Provincial Key Lab of Water System Science for Sponge City Construction, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China
  • 3Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1047 Blindern, N-0316 Oslo, Norway

The intensification of climate change and human activities can lead to non-stationarity of hydrological model parameters, which in turn affects the correctness of model simulation results. Previous studies mainly focus on impacts of climate change, while catchment hydrological responses to human activities require detailed investigation for sustainable water management. This study evaluates anthropogenic impacts on soil water storage capacity of the upper Yangtze River Basin by representing hydrological parameters as functions of human activity indicators. The Xinanjiang (XAJ) model is used since its parameter WM accounts for soil water storage capacity. In this study, time-variations of WM are identified by the split-sample calibration based on dynamic programming (SSC-DP). The variations are further related to ten indicators of human activities from five aspects: population, gross domestic product, farming, irrigation and reservoir construction. Then, the proposed WM functional form is selected by comparing the performance of a set of parameter functions of the identified human activity indicators during the validation period. The study shows that WM increases in 1976-2000, while a relatively high relationship is detected between WM and some indicators such as agricultural acreage, population and reservoir construction. It is further demonstrated that agricultural population has the greatest impact on soil water storage capacity and its linear functional form for WM is validated to be effective in 2001-2010 with best streamflow simulation, especially for low streamflow. These results can help understand the hydrological response to the increasing human development and contribute to adaptive development strategies for future water resource management.

How to cite: Zhang, X., Liu, P., and Xu, C.-Y.: The hydrological response of soil water storage capacity to human activities: A case study in the upper Yangtze River Basin, China, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-5142,, 2020