Climate Change Impacts on Water and Crop Yields in the Glacial Dominated Beas River Basin in India

Monday, 15 December 2014
Renji Remesan, Cranfield University, Cranfield, MK43, United Kingdom, Ian Holman, Cranfield University, Cranfield, United Kingdom, Chandra Shekhar Ojha, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Roorkee, India and Adebayo Johnson Adeloye, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Himalayan valleys are confronting severe climate change related issues (floods in summer, flash flood and landslides, water scarcity in higher altitudes) because of fluctuating monsoon precipitation and increasing seasonal temperatures. In this study, the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model is applied to the River Beas basin, using daily Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) precipitation and NCEP Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR) meteorological data to simulate the river regime and crop yields. The Beas is regionally significant as it holds two giant dams, one which annually diverts 4700 Mm3 of water to a nearby basin. We have applied Sequential Uncertainty Fitting Ver. 2 (SUFI-2) to quantify the parameter uncertainty of the stream flow modelling. The model evaluation statistics for Daily River flows at the Jwalamukhi and Pong gauges show good agreement with measured flows (Nash Sutcliffe efficiency of 0.70 and PBIAS of 7.54 %). We then applied the models within a scenario-neutral framework to develop hydrological and crop yield Impact Response Surfaces (IRS) for future changes in annual temperature and precipitation for the region from AR5. Future Q10 and Q90 daily flows indicate amplified ‘flash flood’ situations and increased low flows, respectively, with increasing temperatures due to increased snowmelt from retreating glaciers. Under existing crop and irrigation management practices, the IRS show decreasing and increasing crop yields for summer (monsoon) and winter (post monsoon) crops, respectively, with rising temperature. Climate change scenario studies shows that, the sensitivity of winter (post monsoon) crop yields to precipitation increases with increasing temperature. The paper will consider the implications of the research for future agricultural water resource management and the potential of adaptation to offset yield losses