Abstract

The hydrologic behaviour of the Brahmani River basin (BRB) (39,633.90 km2), India was assessed for the base period (1970–1999) and future climate scenarios (2050) using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT). Monthly streamflow data of 2000–2009 and 2010–2012 was used for calibration and validation, respectively, and performed satisfactorily with Nash-Sutcliffe Efficiency (ENS) of 0.52–0.55. The projected future climatic outcomes of the HadGEM2-ES model indicated that minimum temperature, maximum temperature, and precipitation may increase by 1.11–3.72 °C, 0.27–2.89 °C, and 16–263 mm, respectively, by 2050. The mean annual streamflow over the basin may increase by 20.86, 11.29, 4.45, and 37.94% under RCP 2.6, 4.5, 6.0, and 8.5, respectively, whereas the sediment yield is likely to increase by 23.34, 10.53, 2.45, and 27.62% under RCP 2.6, 4.5, 6.0, and 8.5, respectively, signifying RCP 8.5 to be the most adverse scenario for the BRB. Moreover, a ten-fold increase in environmental flow (defined as Q90) by the mid-century period is expected under the RCP 8.5 scenario. The vulnerable area assessment revealed that the increase in moderate and high erosion-prone regions will be more prevalent in the mid-century. The methodology developed herein could be successfully implemented for identification and prioritization of critical zones in worldwide river basins.

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