Diffuse nutrient loss is a serious threat to water security and has severely deteriorated water quality throughout the world. Xin’anjiang catchment, as a main drinking water source for Hangzhou City, has been a national concern for water environment protection with payment for watershed services construction. Detection of diffuse phosphorous (DP) pollution dynamics under climate change is significant for sustainable water quality management. In this study, the impact of projected climate change on DP load was analyzed using SWAT to simulate the future changes of diffuse components (carriers: water discharge and sediment; nutrient: DP) at both station and sub-catchment scales under three climate change scenarios (RCP2.6, RCP4.5, and RCP8.5). Results showed that wetting and warming years were expected with increasing tendencies of both precipitation and temperature in the two future periods (2020s: 2021~2030, 2030s: 2031~2040) except in the 2020s in the RCP2.6 scenario, and the annual average increasing ratios of precipitation and temperature reached − 1.79~3.79% and 0.48~1.27 °C, respectively, comparing with those in the baseline (2000s: 2001~2010). Climate change evidently altered annual and monthly average water discharge and sediment load, while it has a remarkable impact on the timing and monthly value of DP load at station scale. DP load tended to increase in the non-flood season at Yuliang due to strengthened nutrient flushing from rice land into rivers with increasing precipitation and enhanced phosphorous cycle in soil layers with increasing temperature, while it tended to decrease in the flood season at Yuliang and in most months at Tunxi due to restricted phosphorous reaction with reduced dissolved oxygen content and enhanced dilution effect. Spatial variability existed in the changes of sediment load and DP load at sub-catchment scale due to climate change. DP load tended to decrease in most sub-catchments and was the most remarkable in the RCP8.5 scenario (2020s, − 9.00~2.63%; 2030s, − 11.16~7.89%), followed by RCP2.6 (2020s, − 10.00~2.90%; 2030s, − 9.00~6.63%) and RCP4.5 (2020s, − 6.81~5.49%, 2030s, − 10.00~9.09%) scenarios. Decreasing of DP load mainly aggregated in the western and eastern mountainous regions, while it tended to increase in the northern and middle regions. This study was expected to provide insights into diffuse nutrient loss control and management in Xin’anjiang catchment, and scientific references for the implementation of water environmental protection in China.
Environmental Science and Pollution Research – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 30, 2017
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