Changes in land use have influence upon hydrology. This influence can been subdivided into direct and indirect influence of changes in land use upon hydrology. Direct influence comprises the influence of changes in land use upon evapotranspiration and degree of imperviousness and may thus lead to changes in groundwater recharge. Indirect influence upon hydrology comprises changes in water management arising from changes in land use, such as the water level in canals and ditches, groundwater drainage and irrigation.

This research examines the influence of changes in land use on water management, evapotranspiration and groundwater level. It begins with an evaluation of the scientific literature dealing with the relationship between land use and hydrology. This theoretical framework is used to investigate the effect of land use on hydrology from a quantitative outlook. The Land Use Scanner (VU et al, 2010) land use model coupled with a hydrological model named the Netherlands Hydrological Instrument (NHI, 2008a) was used for this purpose. The hydrological effects were investigated from the standpoint of two land use scenarios for 2040, namely the Global Economy (GE) scenario and the Regional Communities (RC) scenario.

This research had two goals. The first was to establish whether the Land Use Scanner could be coupled effectively with the NHI. The second was to use the Land Use Scanner coupled with the NHI to calculate the consequences of future land use upon evapotranspiration and groundwater.

The governing question of this research was: To what extent do changes in land use influence hydrology?

UNIGIS MSc thesis: The influence of land use change on hydrology
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