Geospatial modeling of hydrological ecosystem services in an ungauged upper Yamuna catchment using SWAT

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Geospatial modeling of hydrological ecosystem services in an ungauged upper Yamuna catchment using SWAT
Gwal, S.; Gupta, S.; Sena, Dipaka Ranjan; Singh, S.
Hydrological ecosystem services (HES) are vital for resource allocation, conservation prioritization, and climate change adaptation. However, research gaps persist due to limited understanding of complex hydrological systems and inadequate ground-station data, especially in ungauged watersheds with complex terrains. The present study addresses these gaps by estimating and mapping HES descriptors using regionalization techniques in an ungauged Aglar watershed. Additionally, it conducts a temporal analysis of hydrological fluxes using Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT). Aglar is a constituent sub-watershed of a gauged watershed named Bausan having two discharge observation stations located at Naugaon and Bausan sites in Uttarakhand, India. A nested parameterization approach was adopted to represent the hydrological variabilities over the Bausan watershed with one outlet at Aglar. The stream flow derived from the calibrated Bausan watershed was used as synthetic observations in SWAT model setup for Aglar and found to yield very good statistical results. Calibration yielded coefficient of determination (R2 ) = 0.91, Nash Sutcliff Efficiency (NSE) = 0.91, and standardized root mean square error (RSR) = 0.29, while the validation yielded R2 = 0.68, NSE = 0.50, and RSR = 0.37. Parameters related to base flow or stream flow were the most sensitive in the model’s output. Water balance analysis reveals 36% of precipitation transformed into stream flow, with direct runoff accounting for 72% and base flow for 28%. Forest cover contributed approximately 50.68% of precipitation through evapotranspiration. The study identifies a maximum sediment load of approximately 26 t/ha, indicating fragility of the landscape. Non-parametric tests such as Mann Kendall and Sen’s slope indicated increasing trends in surface runoff, lateral flow, water yield, and groundwater recharge. The analysis of the empirical cumulative distribution function demonstrated that all hydrological components exhibit trends similar to precipitation. Spatially and temporally, variations in HES provisioning were observed, with forests surpassing non-forest areas. These findings emphasize the value of HES descriptors in analyzing spatiotemporal changes in HES provisioning and offer valuable insights for policymakers for future policy dialogues. This study lays the groundwork for further investigations into the hydrological processes of ungauged watersheds.

Gwal, S.; Gupta, S.; Sena, Dipaka Ranjan; Singh, S. 2023. Geospatial modeling of hydrological ecosystem services in an ungauged upper Yamuna catchment using SWAT. Ecological Informatics, 78:102335. (Online first) [doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoinf.2023.102335]

 

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