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Journal of Arid Land  2022, Vol. 14 Issue (4): 426-440    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0013-0
Research article     
Application of the InVEST model for assessing water yield and its response to precipitation and land use in the Weihe River Basin, China
WU Changxue1, QIU Dexun2,3, GAO Peng1,2,3,*(), MU Xingmin1,2,3,*(), ZHAO Guangju1,2,3
1State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau, Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, China
2State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau, Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Water Resources, Yangling 712100, China
3University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100000, China
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With realizing the importance of ecosystem services to society, the efforts to evaluate the ecosystem services have increased. As the largest tributary of the Yellow River, the Weihe River has been endowed with many ecological service functions. Among which, water yield can be a measure of local availability of water and an index for evaluating the conservation function of the region. This study aimed to explore the temporal and spatial variation of water yield and its influencing factors in the Weihe River Basin (WRB), and provide basis for formulating reasonable water resources utilization schemes. Based on the InVEST (integrated valuation of ecosystem services and tradeoffs) model, this study simulated the water yield in the WRB from 1985 to 2019, and discussed the impacts of climatic factors and land use change on water yield by spatial autocorrelation analysis and scenario analysis methods. The results showed that there was a slight increasing trend in water yield in the WRB over the study period with the increasing rate of 4.84 mm/10a and an average depth of 83.14 mm. The main water-producing areas were concentrated along the mainstream of the Weihe River and in the southern basin. Changes in water yield were comprehensively affected by climate and underlying surface factors. Precipitation was the main factor affecting water yield, which was consistent with water yield in time. And there existed significant spatial agglomeration between water yield and precipitation. Land use had little impact on the amount of water yield, but had an impact on its spatial distribution. Water yield was higher in areas with wide distribution of construction land and grassland. Water yield of different land use types were different. Unused land showed the largest water yield capacity, whereas grassland and farmland contributed most to the total water yield. The increasing water yield in the basin indicates an enhanced water supply service function of the ecosystem. These results are of great significance to the water resources management of the WRB.

Key wordswater yield      InVEST model      Weihe River Basin      Geoda model      scenario analysis     
Received: 06 February 2022      Published: 30 April 2022
Corresponding Authors: GAO Peng, MU Xingmin     E-mail:;
Cite this article:

WU Changxue, QIU Dexun, GAO Peng, MU Xingmin, ZHAO Guangju. Application of the InVEST model for assessing water yield and its response to precipitation and land use in the Weihe River Basin, China. Journal of Arid Land, 2022, 14(4): 426-440.

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Fig. 1 Elevation, and hydrological and meteorological stations in the Weihe River Basin, China
Data Data description Data source
Climate data Daily precipitation
Daily maximum temperature
Daily minimum temperature
Daily mean temperature
China Meteorological Science Data Sharing Service Network (
Soil data Soil texture (clay, sand, and silt)
Soil organic carbon
Soil depth
Harmonized World Soil Database (HWSD)
Land use/land cover Land use/land cover during 1980-2020 at 1 km spatial resolution Resource and Environmental Science Data Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences (
Digital elevation model (DEM) Elevation of the Weihe River Basin at 30 m spatial resolution Geospatial Data Cloud Platform of Chinese Academy of Sciences (
Streamflow data Measured runoff of Huaxian and Zhuangtou hydrological stations from 1980 to 2019 Yellow River Hydrological Yearbook
Runoff data Restored runoff of Huaxian and Zhuangtou hydrological stations from 1980 to 1984 Runoff data of the Yellow River Basin
Table 1 Relevant basic data sources and description
Fig. 2 Spatial distributions of biophysical characteristics of the Weihe River Basin, China. (a), PAWC, plant available water capacity; (b), soil depth; (c), land use/land cover (LULC) in 2020.
Code Land use type LULC_veg Kc Root depth (m)
1 Farmland 1 0.65 400
2 Forestland 1 1.00 1500
3 Grassland 1 0.65 500
4 Water body 0 1.00 1
5 Construction land 0 0.30 1
6 Unused land 0 0.50 1
Table 2 Biophysical table for the InVEST model
Fig. 3 Annual precipitation, actual evapotranspiration (AET), potential evapotranspiration (PET) and water yield of the Weihe River Basin, China during 1985-2019
Fig. 4 Spatial distribution of water yield in the Weihe River Basin, China. (a), 1985; (b), 2005; (c), 2015; (d), average.
Index Scenario 1 Scenario 2
P 1997 2003 2007 1990 1990 1990
LULC 2020 2020 2020 1990 2010 2020
Table 3 P and LULC under different scenarios
Fig. 5 Spatial distributions of annual precipitation (P, a-c) and water yield (d-f) in the Weihe River Basin, China under scenario 1
Fig. 6 Spatial distribution of the relationship between annual precipitation and water yield in the Weihe River Basin, China in 1997 (a), 2003 (b) and 2007 (c)
Fig. 7 Spatial distributions of LULC (land use/land cover) types (a-c) and water yield (d-f) in the Weihe River Basin, China under scenario 2
Fig. 8 Water yield of different LULC (land use/land cover) types in the Weihe River Basin, China
Index Farmland
Construction land
Unused land
Water body
Farmland 32,855.50 3589.30 18,335.17 3383.78 68.70 491.49 58,723.94
Forestland 2933.04 11,916.83 6314.91 177.19 30.31 60.66 21,432.95
Grassland 16,536.86 6219.80 25,866.74 703.06 58.78 207.40 49,592.64
Construction land 1770.24 117.94 448.83 741.28 4.94 43.82 3127.04
Unused land 61.76 39.77 60.20 7.99 36.59 3.86 210.16
Water body 419.71 47.73 191.59 85.70 1.14 128.26 874.14
Total 54,577.11 21,931.37 51,217.44 5099.00 200.45 935.50 133,960.87
Table 4 Changes of LULC (land use/land cover) types of the Weihe River Basin, China from 1990 to 2020
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