Effects of Land Cover Change on Flood Peak Discharges and Runoff Volumes: Model Estimates for the Nyando River Basin, Kenya
Olang, L. O.
F ̈urst, J.
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The impacts of historical land cover changes witnessed between 1973 and 2000 on the hydrologic response of the Nyando River Basin were investigated. The land cover changes were obtained through consistent classifications of selected Landsat satellite images. Their effects on runoff peak discharges and volumes were subsequently assessed using selected hydrologic models for runoff generation and routing available within the HEC-HMS. Physically based parameters of the models were estimated from the land cover change maps together with a digital elevation model and soil datasets of the basin. Observed storm events for the simulation were selected and their interpolated spatial distributions obtained using the univariate ordinary Kriging procedure. The simulated flows from the 14 sub-catchments were routed downstream afterwards to obtain the accrued effects in the entire river basin. Model results obtained generally revealed significant and varying increases in the runoff peak discharges and volumes within the bas in. In the upstream sub-catchments with higher rates of deforestation, increases between 30 and 47% were observed in the peak discharge. In the entire basin, however, the flood peak discharges and volumes increased by at least 16 and 10% respectively during the entire study period. The study successfully outlined the hydrological consequences of the eminent land cover changes and hence the need for sustainable land use and catchment management strategies.