Relative impact of recent climate and land cover changes in the Godavari river basin, India

  • Narendra Hengade
  • T I EldhoEmail author


The Godavari river basin (GRB), the second largest river basin (312,800 \(\hbox {km}^{2}\)) in India, was considered in this study to quantify the relative hydrological impact of recent land cover (LC) changes and rainfall trends using the variable infiltration capacity hydrologic model. Three scenarios, namely, (i) LC change, (ii) climate change and (iii) LC and climate changes, were considered to isolate the hydrological implications of the LC changes from those of climate change. Results revealed that evapotranspiration is predominantly governed by LC change and that small changes in rainfall cause greater changes in the runoff. Although the spatial extent of LC change is higher, the climate change is the dominant driver of hydrological changes within the GRB. Thus, climate projections are the key inputs to study the impact on the river basin hydrology. The results provide insights into the impacts of the climate and LC changes on the basin. The methodology and results of the present study can be further considered for water resource planning within the river basin in view of the changing environment.


LC change climate change Godavari river basin macroscale hydrological model 



The authors sincerely acknowledge the Central Water Commission (CWC) for providing streamflow data at various locations in the Godavari river basin. The first author is thankful to Prof. Subimal Ghosh for his suggestions, help and valuable guidance.

Supplementary material

12040_2019_1135_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.1 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 1152 KB)


  1. Aggarwal S P, Garg V, Gupta P K, Nikam B R, Thakur P K and Roy P S 2013 Run-off potential assessment over Indian landmass: A macro-scale hydrological modelling approach; Curr. Sci. 104(7) 950–959.Google Scholar
  2. Babar S and Ramesh H 2015 Streamflow response to land use–land cover change over the Nethravathi river basin, India; J. Hydrol. Eng.,
  3. Bewket W and Sterk G 2005 Dynamics in land cover and its effect on stream flow in the Chemoga watershed, Blue Nile basin, Ethiopia; Hydrol. Process. 19(2) 445–458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Burns D H 2008 Climatic influences on streamflow timing in the headwaters of the Mackenzie river basin; J. Hydrol. 352(1–2) 225–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cao C, Xiong X, Wu A and Wu X 2008 Assessing the consistency of AVHRR and MODIS L1B reflectance for generating fundamental climate data records; J. Geophys. Res. Atmos. 113(D9) 1–10.Google Scholar
  6. Cuo L, Zhang Y, Gao Y, Hao Z and Cairang L 2013 The impacts of climate change and land cover/use transition on the hydrology in the upper Yellow River basin, China; J. Hydrol. 502 37–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dong L, Xiong L, Lall U and Wang J 2015 The effects of land use change and precipitation change on direct runoff in Wei river watershed, China; Water Sci. Technol. 71(2) 289–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dooge J, Bruen M and Parmentier B 1999 A simple model for estimating the sensitivity of runoff to long-term changes in precipitation without a change in vegetation; Adv. Water Resour. 23(2) 153–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dunn S M 1998 Large scale modelling using small scale processes in hydrology in a changing environment; In: (eds) Wheater H and Kirby C, Wiley, Chichester, pp. 11–20.Google Scholar
  10. FAO 2003 The digitized soil map of the world and derived soil properties (version 3.5); FAO Land and Water Digital Media Series 1, FAO, Rome.Google Scholar
  11. Foley J A, De Fries R, Asner G P, Barfor C, Bonan G, Carpenter S R, Chapin F S, Coe M T, Daily G C, Gibbs H K, Helkowski J H, Holloway T, Howard E A, Kucharik C J, Monfreda C, Patz J A, Prentice I C, Ramankutty N and Snyder P K 2005 Global consequences of land use; Science 309 570–574.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Guo Q, Yunsong Yang Y and Xiong X 2016 Using hydrologic simulation to identify contributions of climate change and human activity to runoff changes in the Kuye river basin, China; Environ. Earth Sci. 75(417) 1–10, Scholar
  13. Hamlet A F and Lettenmaier D P 1999 Effects of climate change on hydrology and water resources in the Columbia river basin; J. Am. Water Resour. Assoc. 35(6) 1597–1623.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hansen M C, Defries R S, Townshend J R G and Sohlberg R 2000 Global land cover classification at 1 km spatial resolution using a classify cation tree approach; Int. J. Remote Sens. 21(6–7) 1331–1364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hengade N and Eldho T I 2016 Assessment of LULC and climate change on the hydrology of Ashti catchment, India using VIC model; J. Earth Syst. Sci. 125(8) 1623–1634.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Huo A and Li H 2013 Assessment of climate change impact on the stream-flow in a typical debris flow watershed of Jianzhuangcuan catchment in Shaanxi province, China; Environ. Earth Sci. 9(6) 1931–1938.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Jiang Y, Liu C and Li X 2015 Hydrological impacts of climate change simulated by HIMS models in the Luanhe river basin, North China; Water Resour. Manag. 29 1365–1384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kalnay E, Kanamitsu M and Kistler R 1996 The NCEP/NCAR 40-years reanalysis project; Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 77(3) 437–471.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Koster R D and Suarez M J 1999 A simple framework for examining the interannual variability of land surface moisture fluxes; J. Clim. 12(7) 1911–1917.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kristensen K J and Jensen S E 1975 A model for estimating actual evapotranspiration from potential evapotranspiration; Hydrol. Res. 6(3) 170–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Liang X, Lettenmaier D P, Wood E F and Burges S J 1994 A simple hydrologically based model of land surface water and energy fluxes for general circulation models; J. Geophys. Res. 99 14415–14428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Liang X, Lettenmaier D P and Wood E F 1996 One-dimensional statistical dynamic representation of subgrid variability of precipitation in the two-layer variable infiltration capacity model; J. Geophys. Res. 101 403–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Liu Y, Zhang X, Xia D, You J, Rong Y and Bakir M 2013 Impacts of land-use and climate changes on hydrologic processes in the Qingyi river watershed, China; J. Hydrol. Eng. 18(11) 1495–1512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lohmann D, Nolte-Holube R and Raschke E 1996 A large-scale horizontal routing model to be coupled to land surface parameterization schemes; Tellus 48A 708–721.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Maurer E P, Wood A W, Adam J C, Lettenmaier D P and Nijssen B 2002 A long-term hydrologically-based data set of land surface fluxes and states for the conterminous United States; J. Clim. 15 3237–3251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Morán-Tejeda E, Ceballos-Barbancho A and Llorente-Pinto J M 2010 Hydrological response of Mediterranean headwaters to climate oscillations and land-cover changes: The mountains of Duero river basin (Central Spain); Glob. Planet Change 72(1–2) 39–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. National Remote Sensing Centre and Central Water Commission 2011 Assessment of water resources at basin scale using space input—A pilot study—Godavari and Brahmani–Baitarani Basins.Google Scholar
  28. Nijssen B, Greg O’Donnell M and Lettenmair D P 2000 Predicting the discharge of global rivers; J. Clim. 14(15) 3307–3323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Nijssen B, Greg O’Donnell M, Hamlet A F and Lettenmaier D P 2001 Hydrologic sensitivity of global rivers to climate change; Clim. Change 50 143–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Raje D and Krishnan R 2012 Bayesian parameter uncertainty modeling in a macroscale hydrologic model and its impact on Indian river basin hydrology under climate change; Water Resour. Res. 48 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Rajeevan M, Bhate J, Kale J D and Lal B 2005 Development of a high resolution daily gridded rainfall data for the Indian region: Analysis of break and active monsoon spells; Technical Report, India Meteorological Department.Google Scholar
  32. Saghafian B, Farazjoo H, Bozorgy B and Yazdandoost F 2008 Flood intensification due to changes in land use; Water Resour. Manage. 22 1051–1067.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Saha A S, Ghosh S, Sahana A S and Rao E P 2014 Failure of CMIP5 climate models in simulating post-1950 decreasing trend of Indian monsoon; Geophys. Res. Lett. 41 7323–7330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Savary S, Rousseau A N and Quilbe R 2009 Assessing the effects of historical land cover changes on runoff and low flows using remote sensing and hydrological modeling; J. Hydrol. Eng.,
  35. Shah H L and Mishra V 2016 Hydrologic changes in Indian subcontinental river basins (1901–2012); J. Hydrometeor. 17 2667–2687.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Todini E 1996 The ARNO rainfall-runoff model; J. Hydrol. 175 339–382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Yan R, Gao J and Lingling L 2016 Streamflow response to future climate and land use changes in Xinjiang basin, China; Environ. Earth Sci. 75 1108. 1–15.Google Scholar
  38. Zhang L, Dawes W R and Walker G R 2001 Response of mean annual evapotranspiration to vegetation changes at catchment scale; Water Resour. Res. 37(3) 701–708.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringIndian Institute of Technology BombayMumbaiIndia

Personalised recommendations