Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-3007
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-3007
03 Jan 2024
 | 03 Jan 2024

Spatio-temporal patterns and trends of streamflow in water-scarce Mediterranean basins

Laia Estrada, Xavier Garcia, Joan Saló, Rafael Marcé, Antoni Munné, and Vicenç Acuña

Abstract. The issue of water scarcity, exacerbated by climate change and demographic increase, has become a growing concern in many regions throughout the world. Understanding hydrological behaviour to promote resilient and sustainable water management is paramount. Hydrological models that integrate natural processes and anthropogenic alterations of the basin’s hydrology are a powerful tool to support decision-making. We developed a SWAT+ hydrological model including stakeholder expert knowledge on water management and introducing a novel calibration and validation approach suitable for heterogeneous basins in space and / or time. We also assessed spatio-temporal patterns and trends of streamflow during the first two decades of the 21st century in the Catalan River Basin District, in the western Mediterranean, using a wide variety of indicators to fully characterize the hydrological regime. We calibrated and validated the model using data from 50 gauging stations, verifying the usefulness of the new calibration and validation strategy. Co-development with stakeholders and the integration of expert knowledge, most notably on reservoir operations, helped improve model performance. Results revealed a generalized streamflow reduction, as well as increased dominance of streamflow flashiness and zero-flows recurrence. We also observed differences in seasonal trends, with autumn being the most affected season. These results provide insights into how climate change and anthropogenic pressures are going to keep affecting water resources availability in the future, thus raising the need for sustainable management practices in the Catalan River Basin District, as well as other regions vulnerable to water scarcity.

Publisher's note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims made in the text, published maps, institutional affiliations, or any other geographical representation in this preprint. The responsibility to include appropriate place names lies with the authors.
Laia Estrada, Xavier Garcia, Joan Saló, Rafael Marcé, Antoni Munné, and Vicenç Acuña

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-3007', Francesc Gallart, 31 Jan 2024
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Laia Estrada, 21 Feb 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-3007', Anonymous Referee #2, 12 Feb 2024
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Laia Estrada, 21 Feb 2024
Laia Estrada, Xavier Garcia, Joan Saló, Rafael Marcé, Antoni Munné, and Vicenç Acuña
Laia Estrada, Xavier Garcia, Joan Saló, Rafael Marcé, Antoni Munné, and Vicenç Acuña

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Short summary
Hydrological modelling is a powerful tool to support decision-making. We assessed spatio-temporal patterns and trends of streamflow for 2001–2022 with a hydrological modelling integrating stakeholder expert knowledge on management operations. The results provide insight into how climate change and anthropogenic pressures affect water resources availability in regions vulnerable to water scarcity, thus raising the need for sustainable management practices and integrated hydrological modelling.