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Modelling impacts of climate change and socio-economic change on the Ganga, Brahmaputra, Meghna, Hooghly and Mahanadi river systems in India and Bangladesh

Modelling impacts of climate change and socio-economic change on the Ganga, Brahmaputra, Meghna, Hooghly and Mahanadi river systems in India and Bangladesh
Modelling impacts of climate change and socio-economic change on the Ganga, Brahmaputra, Meghna, Hooghly and Mahanadi river systems in India and Bangladesh

The Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) River System, the associated Hooghly River and the Mahanadi River System represent the largest river basins in the world serving a population of over 780 million. The rivers are of vital concern to India and Bangladesh as they provide fresh water for people, agriculture, industry, conservation and support the Delta System in the Bay of Bengal. Future changes in both climate and socio-economics have been investigated to assess whether these will alter river flows and water quality. Climate datasets downscaled from three different Global Climate Models have been used to drive a daily process based flow and water quality model. The results suggest that due to climate change the flows will increase in the monsoon period and also be enhanced in the dry season. However, once socio-economic changes are also considered, increased population, irrigation, water use and industrial development reduce water availability in drought conditions, threatening water supplies and posing a threat to river and coastal ecosystems. This study, as part of the DECCMA (Deltas, vulnerability and Climate Change: Migration and Adaptation) project, also addresses water quality issues, particularly nutrients (N and P) and their transport along the rivers and discharge into the Delta System. Climate will alter flows, increasing flood flows and changing pollution dilution factors in the rivers, as well as other key processes controlling water quality. Socio-economic change will affect water quality, as water diversion strategies, increased population and industrial development alter the water balance and enhance fluxes of nutrients from agriculture, urban centers and atmospheric deposition.

Climate change, Ganga, Mahanadi, RCP 8.5, Socio-economics, Water quality modelling
0048-9697
1362-1372
Whitehead, Paul G.
5dfb7549-7f3d-4e18-b99b-db00418fdd5c
Jin, Li
fb1eef11-3d16-41c1-b9e5-0ff887270f75
Macadam, Ian
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Janes, Tamara
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Sarkar, Sananda
fe13a46d-25e6-4560-b1a0-c6ae425afd53
Rodda, Harvey J.E.
1cbb4a7e-2b4f-41f7-ae25-2f7688972252
Sinha, Rajiv
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Nicholls, Robert J.
4ce1e355-cc5d-4702-8124-820932c57076
Whitehead, Paul G.
5dfb7549-7f3d-4e18-b99b-db00418fdd5c
Jin, Li
fb1eef11-3d16-41c1-b9e5-0ff887270f75
Macadam, Ian
b7562fd7-7bd9-45c8-8ff7-1164006365c8
Janes, Tamara
0d584356-d49e-44bf-8f70-117532d84454
Sarkar, Sananda
fe13a46d-25e6-4560-b1a0-c6ae425afd53
Rodda, Harvey J.E.
1cbb4a7e-2b4f-41f7-ae25-2f7688972252
Sinha, Rajiv
38e87777-4600-40ee-9267-d115f7e6a724
Nicholls, Robert J.
4ce1e355-cc5d-4702-8124-820932c57076

Whitehead, Paul G., Jin, Li, Macadam, Ian, Janes, Tamara, Sarkar, Sananda, Rodda, Harvey J.E., Sinha, Rajiv and Nicholls, Robert J. (2018) Modelling impacts of climate change and socio-economic change on the Ganga, Brahmaputra, Meghna, Hooghly and Mahanadi river systems in India and Bangladesh. Science of the Total Environment, 636, 1362-1372. (doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.04.362).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) River System, the associated Hooghly River and the Mahanadi River System represent the largest river basins in the world serving a population of over 780 million. The rivers are of vital concern to India and Bangladesh as they provide fresh water for people, agriculture, industry, conservation and support the Delta System in the Bay of Bengal. Future changes in both climate and socio-economics have been investigated to assess whether these will alter river flows and water quality. Climate datasets downscaled from three different Global Climate Models have been used to drive a daily process based flow and water quality model. The results suggest that due to climate change the flows will increase in the monsoon period and also be enhanced in the dry season. However, once socio-economic changes are also considered, increased population, irrigation, water use and industrial development reduce water availability in drought conditions, threatening water supplies and posing a threat to river and coastal ecosystems. This study, as part of the DECCMA (Deltas, vulnerability and Climate Change: Migration and Adaptation) project, also addresses water quality issues, particularly nutrients (N and P) and their transport along the rivers and discharge into the Delta System. Climate will alter flows, increasing flood flows and changing pollution dilution factors in the rivers, as well as other key processes controlling water quality. Socio-economic change will affect water quality, as water diversion strategies, increased population and industrial development alter the water balance and enhance fluxes of nutrients from agriculture, urban centers and atmospheric deposition.

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GBMHM Rivers Whitehead et al - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 26 April 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 5 May 2018
Published date: 15 September 2018
Keywords: Climate change, Ganga, Mahanadi, RCP 8.5, Socio-economics, Water quality modelling

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 421429
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/421429
ISSN: 0048-9697
PURE UUID: 3b750051-f4f0-4c28-80ff-0970a7febf36
ORCID for Robert J. Nicholls: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-9715-1109

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 11 Jun 2018 16:30
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 07:00

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Contributors

Author: Paul G. Whitehead
Author: Li Jin
Author: Ian Macadam
Author: Tamara Janes
Author: Sananda Sarkar
Author: Harvey J.E. Rodda
Author: Rajiv Sinha

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