IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 2780: Hydrological Response to Precipitation and Human Activities--A Case Study in the Zuli River Basin, China (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
Precipitation and human activities are two essential forcing dynamics that influence hydrological processes. Previous research has paid more attention to either climate and streamflow or vegetation cover and streamflow, but rarely do studies focus on the impact of climate and human activities on streamflow and sediment. To investigate those impacts, the Zuli River Basin (ZRB), a typical tributary basin of the Yellow River in China, was chosen to identify the impact of precipitation and human activities on runoff and sediment discharge. A double mass curve (DMC) analysis and test methods, including accumulated variance analysis, sequential cluster, Lee-Heghnian, and moving t-test methods, were utilized to determine the abrupt change points based on data from 1956 to 2015. Correlation formulas and multiple regression methods were used to calculate the runoff and sediment discharge reduction effects of soil conservation measures and to estimate the contribution rate of precipitation and soil conservation measures to runoff and sediment discharge. Our results show that the runoff reduction effect of soil conservation measures (45%) is greater than the sediment discharge reduction effect (32%). Soil conservation measures were the main factor controlling the 74.5% and 75.0% decrease in runoff and sediment discharge, respectively. Additionally, the contribution rate of vegetation measures was higher than that of engineering measures. This study provides scientific strategies for water resource management and soil conservation planning at catchment scale to face future hydrological variability.