An assessment of land use change impacts on the water resources of the Mula and Mutha Rivers catchment upstream of Pune, India
Land use changes are altering the hydrologic system and have potentially large impacts on water resources. Rapid socio-economic development drives land use change. This is particularly true in the case of the rapidly developing city of Pune, India. The present study aims at analyzing past land use changes between 1989 and 2009 and their impacts on the water balance in the Mula and Mutha Rivers catchment upstream of Pune. Land use changes were identified from three Rivers catchment multitemporal land use classifications for the cropping years 1989/1990, 2000/2001, and 2009/2010. The hydrologic model SWAT (Soil and Water Assessment Tool) was used to assess impacts on runoff and evapotranspiration. Two model runs were performed and compared using the land use classifications of 1989/1990 and 2009/2010. The main land use changes were identified as an increase of urban area from 5.1% to 10.1% and cropland from 9.7% to 13.5% of the catchment area during the 20 yr period. Urbanization was mainly observed in the eastern part and conversion to cropland in the mid-northern part of the catchment. At the catchment scale we found that the impacts of these land use changes on the water balance cancel each other out. However, at the sub-basin scale urbanization led to an increase of the water yield by up to 7.6%, and a similar decrease of evapotranspiration, whereas the increase of cropland resulted in an increase of evapotranspiration by up to 5.9%.