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Journal of Arid Land  2021, Vol. 13 Issue (1): 56-70    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0050-0
Research article     
Long-term variations in runoff of the Syr Darya River Basin under climate change and human activities
Sanim BISSENBAYEVA1,2,3,4, Jilili ABUDUWAILI1,2,3,*(), Assel SAPAROVA5, Toqeer AHMED6
1State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China
2Research Center for Ecology and Environment of Central Asia, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China
3University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
4Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, Almaty 050040, Kazakhstan
5Institute of Geography, Satbayev University, Almaty 050010, Kazakhstan
6Centre for Climate Research and Development, COMSATS University Islamabad, Tarlai Kalan 45550, Pakistan
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Abstract  

In this study, we analyzed the hydrological and meteorological data from the Syr Darya River Basin during the period of 1930-2015 to investigate variations in river runoff and the impacts of climate change and human activities on river runoff. The Syr Darya River, which is supplied by snow and glacier meltwater upstream, is an important freshwater source for Central Asia, as nearly half of the population is concentrated in this area. River runoff in this arid region is sensitive to climate change and human activities. Therefore, estimation of the climatic and hydrological changes and the quantification of the impacts of climate change and human activities on river runoff are of great concern and important for regional water resources management. The long-term trends of hydrological time series from the selected 11 hydrological stations in the Syr Darya River Basin were examined by non-parametric methods, including the Pettitt change point test and Mann-Kendall trend tests. It was found that 8 out of 11 hydrological stations showed significant downward trends in river runoff. Change of river runoff variations occurred in the year around 1960. Moreover, during the study period (1930-2015), annual mean temperature, annual precipitation, and annual potential evapotranspiration in the river basin increased substantially. We employed hydrological sensitivity method to evaluate the impacts of climate change and human activities on river runoff based on precipitation and potential evapotranspiration. It was estimated that human activities accounted for over 82.6%-98.7% of the reduction in river runoff, mainly owing to water withdrawal for irrigation purpose. The observed variations in river runoff can subsequently lead to adverse ecological consequences from an ecological and regional water resources management perspective.



Key wordsriver runoff variations      water resources management      land use/land cover changes      Mann-Kendall trend test      hydrological sensitivity analysis      Aral Sea      Central Asia     
Received: 26 August 2019      Published: 10 January 2021
Corresponding Authors: Jilili ABUDUWAILI     E-mail: jilil@ms.xjb.ac.cn
About author: *Jilili ABUDUWAILI (E-mail: jilil@ms.xjb.ac.cn)
Cite this article:

Sanim BISSENBAYEVA, Jilili ABUDUWAILI, Assel SAPAROVA, Toqeer AHMED. Long-term variations in runoff of the Syr Darya River Basin under climate change and human activities. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(1): 56-70.

URL:

http://jal.xjegi.com/10.1007/s40333-021-0050-0     OR     http://jal.xjegi.com/Y2021/V13/I1/56

Fig. 1 Overview of the Syr Darya River Basin (a and b ) as well as the locations of hydrological stations (a) and meteorological stations (b). DEM, digital elevation model.
Year Development of water conservancy facility Description
1930 Big Fergana Canal was put into operation Capacity of headwork: 200 m3/s
1930 North Fergana Canal was put into operation Capacity of headwork: 110 m3/s
1951 South Golodnostep Canal was put into operation Capacity of headwork: 300 m3/s
1959 Kairakum Reservoir was built and put into operation Purpose: irrigation and energy; river: Syr Darya; nominal volume: 5.2×109 m3
1965 Chardara Reservoir was built and put into operation Purpose: irrigation and energy; river: Syr Darya; nominal volume: 4.0×109 m3
1963-1972 Charvak Reservoir was built and put into operation Purpose: irrigation and energy; river: Chirchik; nominal volume: 2.0×109 m3
1978 Andijan Reservoir was built and put into operation Purpose: irrigation and energy; river: Karadarya; nominal volume: 1.9×109 m3
1982 Toktogul Reservoir was built and put into operation Purpose: irrigation and energy; river: Naryn; nominal volume: 19.5×109 m3
Table 1 Major developments of the Syr Darya River Basin
Region Hydrological station River Distance to the mouth (km) Altitude (m)
Upstream Naryn Naryn 534.0 2040.3
Uchtepa Karadarya 8.0 405.3
Namagan Syr Darya 2173.0 377.6
Mid-stream Doustabad Angren 19.0 294.0
Chinaz Chirchik 3.2 252.0
Keles Syr Darya 1732.0 246.0
Nadezhdinsk Syr Darya 1812.0 263.0
Keles river mouth Keles 1.2 250.0
Downstream Arys Arys 126.0 222.2
Tomenaryk Syr Darya 996.0 157.7
Karateren Syr Darya - 42.0
Table 2 Hydrological stations of the Syr Darya River Basin
Fig. 2 Change trends of annual mean temperature, annual precipitation, and annual potential evapotranspiration (PET) in the downstream, mid-stream, and upstream of the Syr Darya River Basin during the period of 1930-2015
Region Factor Trend rate Z value Change point Significance level
Upstream Temperature (°C/10a) 0.30 12.10 1976 0.01
Precipitation (mm/10a) 3.98 1.33 1997 *
PET (mm/10a) 1.40 1.64 1999 *
Mid-stream Temperature (°C/10a) 0.20 10.70 1984 0.01
Precipitation (mm/10a) 7.10 6.56 1989 0.01
PET (mm/10a) 2.90 2.51 1998 0.05
Downstream Temperature (°C/10a) 0.30 9.61 1978 0.01
Precipitation (mm/10a) 4.20 4.03 1977 0.01
PET (mm/10a) 11.50 6.81 1973 0.01
Table 3 Results of trend test and change point analyses of temperature, precipitation, and potential evapotranspiration (PET) in the downstream, mid-stream, and upstream of the Syr Darya River Basin
Year Grassland
(103 km2)
Bare land
(103 km2)
Cropland
(103 km2)
Shrubland
(103 km2)
Forest land
(103 km2)
Water body
(103 km2)
Urban land
(103 km2)
1995 141.5 55.1 47.8 24.1 15.1 5.8 0.6
2015 144.2 49.8 42.8 24.0 14.0 6.2 3.4
Table 4 Area of land use/land cover types in the Syr Darya River Basin in 1995 and 2015
Fig. 3 Changes of total water withdrawal, irrigation volume, and irrigation area in the downstream, mid-stream, and upstream of the Syr Darya River Basin from 1930 to 2013
Region Hydrological station Z value Change point Significance level
Upstream Namagan -3.1 1960 0.01
Naryn -1.6 1960 *
Uchkurgan 0.2 - *
Mid-stream Nadezhdinsk -3.3 1960 0.01
Keles -3.7 1964 0.01
Doustabad -5.4 1960 0.01
Chinaz -4.6 1960 0.01
Keles river mouth 1.2 1992 *
Downstream Tomenaryk -3.6 1964 0.01
Karateren -3.9 1964 0.01
Arys -3.6 1964 0.01
Table 5 Results of trend test and change point analyses of annual river runoff in the Syr Darya River Basin
Fig. 4 Long-term variations of annual river runoff in the Syr Darya River Basin from 1930 to 2015. (a), Tomenaryk station; (b), Keles station; (c), Namagan station; (d), Naryn station.
Fig. 5 Double cumulative curves of annual river runoff and annual precipitation in the downstream (a) and upstream (b) of the Syr Darya River Basin during the period of 1930-2015
Region Period ΔP (mm) ΔPET (mm) ΔR (mm) ΔRclim (mm) ΔIclim (%) ΔRhum
(mm)
ΔIhum (%)
Upstream 1961-1975 -5.2 -3.9 -36.2 -4.0 9.0 -40.2 91.0
1976-1990 0.9 -2.6 -64.3 0.8 1.2 -65.1 98.8
1991-2005 23.0 3.8 -5.6 19.1 43.6 -24.7 56.4
2006-2015 5.3 35.5 -54.7 1.1 1.9 -55.7 98.1
1961-2015 6.1 5.7 -38.9 3.9 8.4 -42.8 91.6
Mid-stream 1961-1975 0.0 -1.3 -52.5 -0.1 0.1 -52.6 99.9
1976-1990 3.8 -2.2 -90.4 1.9 2.1 -92.3 97.9
1991-2005 49.4 1.0 -46.2 37.9 31.1 -84.0 68.9
2006-2015 42.1 41.2 -55.1 30.0 26.1 -85.1 73.9
1961-2015 22.2 6.8 -61.6 16.4 17.4 -78.0 82.6
Downstream 1961-1975 0.2 23.1 -37.3 -0.1 0.3 -37.2 99.7
1976-1990 44.9 28.7 -64.6 0.7 1.0 -65.3 99.0
1991-2005 32.5 49.4 -34.1 1.2 3.3 -35.3 96.7
2006-2015 7.3 105.4 -36.7 -0.2 0.5 -36.5 99.5
1961-2015 22.5 46.8 -43.8 0.6 1.3 -44.4 98.7
Naryn River sub-basin 1961-1975 -21.6 2.5 -2.4 -27.6 48.0 -30.0 52.0
1976-1990 -0.3 -3.4 -1.3 -0.9 68.0 -0.4 32.0
1991-2005 31.1 -2.2 7.1 31.7 56.0 -24.6 44.0
2006-2015 -10.1 30.1 -19.6 -8.0 41.0 -11.6 59.0
1961-2015 0.7 4.6 -2.6 1.4 55.0 -1.2 45.0
Table 6 Variations of precipitation, PET, and river runoff as well as relative contributions of climate change and human activities on variations of river runoff in the Syr Darya River Basin during the period of 1961-2015
Fig. 6 Relationships of river runoff with water withdrawal (a, b, c), irrigation area (d, e, f), and precipitation (g, h, i) in the upstream, mid-stream, downstream, and Naryn River sub-basin of the Syr Darya River Basin
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