Attribution of changes in the water balance of a tropical catchment to land use change using the SWAT model

Hero Marhaento*, Martijn J. Booij, T. H.M. Rientjes, Arjen Y. Hoekstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)
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Changes in the water balance of the Samin catchment (277.9 km2) on Java, Indonesia, can be attributed to land use change using the Soil Water Assessment Tool model. A baseline-altered method was used in which the simulation period 1990–2013 was divided into 4 equal periods to represent baseline conditions (1990–1995) and altered land use conditions (1996–2001, 2002–2007, and 2008–2013). Land use maps for 1994, 2000, 2006, and 2013 were acquired from satellite images. A Soil Water Assessment Tool model was calibrated for the baseline period and applied to the altered periods with and without land use change. Incorporating land use change resulted in a Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency of 0.7 compared to 0.6 when land use change is ignored. In addition, the model performance for simulations without land use change gradually decreased with time. Land use change appeared to be the important driver for changes in the water balance. The main land use changes during 1994–2013 are a decrease in forest area from 48.7% to 16.9%, an increase in agriculture area from 39.2% to 45.4%, and an increase in settlement area from 9.8% to 34.3%. For the catchment, this resulted in an increase of the runoff coefficient from 35.7% to 44.6% and a decrease in the ratio of evapotranspiration to rainfall from 60% to 54.8%. More pronounced changes can be observed for the ratio of surface runoff to stream flow (increase from 26.6% to 37.5%) and the ratio of base flow to stream flow (decrease from 40% to 31.1%), whereas changes in the ratio of lateral flow to stream flow were minor (decrease from 33.4% to 31.4%). At sub-catchment level, the effect of land use changes on the water balance varied in different sub-catchments depending on the scale of changes in forest and settlement area.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11
Pages (from-to)2029-2040
Number of pages12
JournalHydrological processes
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2017


  • attribution analysis
  • land use change
  • Samin catchment
  • SWAT model
  • water balance

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