Reducing the basin vulnerability by land management practices under past and future climate: a case study of the Nam Ou River Basin, Lao PDR
M. Maharjan1, M. S. Babel1, and S. Maskey21Water Engineering and Management, Asian Institute of Technology, P.O. Box 4 Klong Luang, Pathumthani 12120, Thailand 2Department of Water Science and Engineering, UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, P.O. Box 3015, 261DA Delft, the Netherlands
Received: 18 Jun 2014 – Accepted for review: 27 Jul 2014 – Discussion started: 21 Aug 2014
Abstract. This research evaluates different land management practices for the Nam Ou River Basin in Northern Laos for reducing vulnerability of the basin due to erosion and sediment yield under existing and future climate conditions. We use climate projection data (precipitation and temperature) from three general circulation models (GCMs) for three greenhouse gas emission scenarios (GHGES), namely B1, A1B and A2 and three future periods, namely 2011–2030, 2046–2065 and 2080–2099. These large resolution GCM data are downscaled using the Long Ashton Research Station-Weather Generator (LARS-WG). The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), which is a process based hydrological model, is used to simulate discharge and sediment yield and a threshold value of annual sediment yield is applied to identify vulnerable sub-basins. Results show that the change in the annual precipitation is expected to be between −7.60 to 2.64% in 2011–2030, −8.98 to 11.85% in 2046–2065, and −11.04 to 25.84% in 2080–2099. In the meantime, the changes in mean monthly temperature vary from 0.3 to 1.3 °C in the 2011–2030, 1.3 to 2.9 °C in the 2046–2065 and 1.9 to 4.9 °C in the 2080–2099. Five sub-basins are identified vulnerable (critical) under the current climate. Our results show that terracing is the most effective land management practice to reduce sediment yield in these sub-basins followed by strip-cropping and filter strip. Appropriate land management practices applied under future climate scenarios show significant reduction in sediment yield (i.e. up to the tolerance limit) except for some sub-basins. In these exceptional sub-basins, designing an optimum combination of management practices is essential to reduce the vulnerability of the basin.
Maharjan, M., Babel, M. S., and Maskey, S.: Reducing the basin vulnerability by land management practices under past and future climate: a case study of the Nam Ou River Basin, Lao PDR, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., 11, 9863-9905, doi:10.5194/hessd-11-9863-2014, 2014.