This study investigates the temporal variation of stable isotopic composition in precipitation, soil water, and streamflow water during the plum rainfall events in an upland headwater watershed which is mainly covered with bamboo. The results show that the isotopic composition of various water sources exhibit significant temporal variation. The local meteoric water line is established by using the relationship between the stable isotope of oxygen-18 and deuterium, which is slightly different from the meteoric water line of China. The isotopic temporal variation of precipitation is closely related to exchange effect between raindrops and environmental vapor, evaporation fractionation and rainfall intensity. The isotopic variation of shallow soil water is mainly determined by canopy interception, ground evaporation and the mixing with pre-event water; as for the isotopic variation of deep soil water, it is virtually influenced by pre-event water. The most enriched isotopic composition of streamflow and deuterium excess (d-excess) differences between streamflow and rainfall both indicate that streamflow is recharged not only by event water but also by pre-event water. Hence, a better understanding of precipitation formation and the hydrological response under the plum rainfall system may be instructive for the management of water resources in humid watersheds in southern China.

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