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Title: Long-term effects of land-use change on water resources in urbanizing watersheds

The changes in energy balance resulting from land-use change may significantly affect the amount and timing of water loss to the atmosphere as evapotranspiration (ET). Also, these will impact water fluxes in the watershed system, influencing runoff rate, flow volume, intensity, and frequency of floods. During the past century, land-use change in the SuAsCo (Sudbury-Assabet and Concord) watershed has altered basin hydrology, sediment, and nutrient load that is detrimental to water resources in SuAsCo. This study uses an integrated physically-based model Hydrological Simulation Program-FORTRAN (HSPF), along with Land Transformation Model (LTM), to assess predicted temporal and spatial changes in water, nutrient, and sediment yields for future land-use scenarios of 2035, 2065, and 2100. Results showed that a 75% increase in effective impervious area and a 50% decrease in forest area in 2100 (from 2005 baseline levels) are projected to cause a 3% increase in annual streamflow and a 69% increase in total yearly mean surface runoff. The average annual total suspended solid (TSS) yield at the watershed outlet is estimated to increase by 54% in 2100. An increase of 12% and 13% concentrations of average annual total phosphorus (TP) and total nitrogen (TN) are predicted by 2100 due to urban expansion and increased runoff volume. This integrated modeling approach will inform watershed managers and landowners about critical areas of the SuAsCo watershed to apply best management practices (BMPs) to mitigate the effects of land-use land cover (LULC) change.

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Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
Cheema, MJM
Publisher / Repository:
Date Published:
Journal Name:
PLOS Water
Page Range / eLocation ID:
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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