Land use change increases flood hazard: a multi-modelling approach to assess change in flood characteristics driven by socio-economic land use change scenarios

  • Jean HounkpèEmail author
  • Bernd Diekkrüger
  • Abel A. Afouda
  • Luc Olivier Crepin Sintondji
Original Paper


We analysed in the work how change in land use/land cover influences on flood characteristics (frequency and magnitude) using a model inter-comparison approach, statistical methods and two land use scenarios (land use scenario A and land use scenario B) for three time horizons. The derived land use maps from these scenarios were considered as forcing inputs to two physically based hydrological models (SWAT and WaSiM). The generalized Pareto distribution combined with the Poisson distribution was used to compute flood frequency and magnitude. Under land use scenario A, croplands increase at the annual rate of 0.7% while under land use scenario B, it increases by 1.13% between 2003 and 2029. The expansion of croplands indubitably enhances flood risks. Although there was a general agreement about the sense of the variation, the magnitude of change in flood characteristics was highly influenced by the model type. The rate of increase in flood quantiles simulated from SWAT (0.36–1.3% for 10-year flood) was smaller than the corresponding magnitude of changes simulated from WaSiM (2.6–7.0% for 10-year flood) whatever the scenarios. The expansion of agricultural and pasture lands at the yearly rate of 0.7% under land use scenario A (respectively, 1.13% under land use scenario B) leads to an increase of 3.6% (respectively, 5.4%) in 10-year flood by considering WaSiM. This study is among the first of its kind to establish a strong statistical relation between flood severity/frequency and agricultural land expansion and natural vegetation reduction. The results of this study are relevant and useful to the scientific research community as well as the decision makers for framing appropriate policy decisions towards the management of extreme events and the land use planning/management in future in the region.


Flood events Multi-modelling Statistical analysis Zou catchment West Africa 



This work was supported by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) through the West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL;


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.West Africa Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land UseUniversity of Abomey-CalaviAbomey-CalaviBenin
  2. 2.National Water InstituteUniversity of Abomey-CalaviAbomey-CalaviBenin
  3. 3.Department of GeographyUniversity of BonnBonnGermany

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