Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Science

Department

Environmental Studies

Advisor's Name

Assefa Melesse

Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Advisor's Name

Michael McClain

Advisor's Name

Jeffrey Onsted

Keywords

Mara River, SWAT, Land use change, Climate change scenarios, Flow

Date of Defense

3-22-2010

Abstract

Increasingly erratic flow in the upper reaches of the Mara River, has directed attention to land use change as the major cause of this problem. The semi-distributed hydrological model SWAT and Landsat imagery were utilized in order to 1) map existing land use practices, 2) determine the impacts of land use change on water flux; and 3) determine the impacts of climate change scenarios on the water flux of the upper Mara River.

This study found that land use change scenarios resulted in more erratic discharge while climate change scenarios had a more predictable impact on the discharge and water balance components. The model results showed the flow was more sensitive to the rainfall changes than land use changes but land use changes reduce dry season flows which is a major problem in the basin. Deforestation increased the peak flows which translated to increased sediment loading in the Mara River.

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