Water Resources Management

, Volume 29, Issue 11, pp 4045–4060 | Cite as

A Study on the Streamflow Change and its Relationship with Climate Change and Ecological Restoration Measures in a Sediment Concentrated Region in the Loess Plateau, China

  • Wei Liang
  • Dan BaiEmail author
  • Zhao Jin
  • Yuchi You
  • Jiaxing Li
  • Yuting Yang


To better understand the driving forces of changes in streamflow (Q), this study analyzed the changes in the hydro-meteorological series by the Mann-Kendall, Pettitt’s test and the flow duration curve (FDC) in the Wuding River Basin (WRB), which is a typical river basin in the Loess Plateau. The response of Q variability to climate change and human activities were also quantified by the elasticity method and decomposition method based on the Budyko framework. The results showed that Q exhibited an obvious downward trend at the rate of 0.44 mm/y with a changing point occurred in 1980. Compared with 1961–1980, the greatest reduction in monthly Q during 1981–2007 was found in April (41 %) and the low flows have more distinct decrease than high flows. The precipitation (P), potential evapotranspiration (E 0 ) and catchment characteristics parameter n elasticity of Q are 2.40, −1.40 and −2.51, respectively, indicating that Q variability is most sensitive to human activities. The contribution of climate change and human activities to changes in Q from the two methods are 35 and 65 %, respectively. The ecological restoration (ER) measures, including channel measures and slope measures, were found to be the dominant factors responsible for the decreased Q. Furthermore, changes in Q in 1970–1990 could be mainly ascribed to channel measures while slope measures have played more important roles after 1999 when the Grain-for-Green (GFG) project was implemented. This study could provide scientific basis for how to mitigate effectively and efficiently changes in water resources and guide measures to be implemented in the region under the future climate change.


Wuding River Basin Streamflow trends Ecological restoration measures Climate change Flow duration curves 



We would like to thank the National Climatic Centre of the China Meteorological Administration for providing the meteorological data. This work was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41390464, 41401027) and the Open Research Fund of the State Key Laboratory of Hydraulics and Mountain River Engineering (No. SKHL1405). We also thank two anonymous reviewers and editor for their constructive comments which improve greatly the overall quality of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wei Liang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Dan Bai
    • 1
    Email author
  • Zhao Jin
    • 2
  • Yuchi You
    • 2
  • Jiaxing Li
    • 2
  • Yuting Yang
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory Base of Eco-Hydraulic in Arid AreaXi’an University of TechnologyXi’anChina
  2. 2.Department of Tourism and Environmental SciencesShaanxi Normal UniversityXi’anChina
  3. 3.CSIRO Land and Water, Black MountainCanberraAustralia
  4. 4.State Key Laboratory of Hydraulics and Mountain River EngineeringChengduChina

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