The assessment of land use land cover (LULC) and climate change over the hydrology of a catchment has become inevitable and is an essential aspect to understand the water resources-related problems within the catchment. For large catchments, mesoscale models such as variable infiltration capacity (VIC) model are required for appropriate hydrological assessment. In this study, Ashti Catchment (sub-catchment of Godavari Basin in India) is considered as a case study to evaluate the impacts of LULC changes and rainfall trends on the hydrological variables using VIC model. The land cover data and rainfall trends for 40 years (1971−2010) were used as driving input parameters to simulate the hydrological changes over the Ashti Catchment and the results are compared with observed runoff. The good agreement between observed and simulated streamflows emphasises that the VIC model is able to evaluate the hydrological changes within the major catchment, satisfactorily. Further, the study shows that evapotranspiration is predominantly governed by the vegetation classes. Evapotranspiration is higher for the forest cover as compared to the evapotranspiration for shrubland/grassland, as the trees with deeper roots draws the soil moisture from the deeper soil layers. The results show that the spatial extent of change in rainfall trends is small as compared to the total catchment. The hydrological response of the catchment shows that small changes in monsoon rainfall predominantly contribute to runoff, which results in higher changes in runoff as the potential evapotranspiration within the catchments is achieved. The study also emphasises that the hydrological implications of climate change are not very significant on the Ashti Catchment, during the last 40 years (1971−2010).
Volume 128 | Issue 8
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