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Evaluation of basin storage–discharge sensitivity in Taiwan using low‐flow recession analysis

Yeh, Hsin‐Fu, Huang, Chia‐Chi
Hydrological processes 2019 v.33 no.10 pp. 1434-1447
anthropogenic activities, aquifers, basins, climate change, climatic factors, equations, evapotranspiration, groundwater, groundwater recharge, hydrologic models, land use, meteorological data, rain, stream flow, uncertainty, variance, water storage, wet season, Taiwan
Sensitivity analysis of the hydrological behaviour of basins has mainly focused on the correlation between streamflow and climate, ignoring the uncertainty of future climate and not utilizing complex hydrological models. However, groundwater storage is affected by climatic change and human activities. The streamflow of many basins is primarily sourced from the natural discharge of aquifers in upstream regions. The correlation between streamflow and groundwater storage has not been thoroughly discussed. In this study, the storage–discharge sensitivity of 22 basins in Taiwan was investigated by means of daily streamflow and rainfall data obtained over more than 30 years. The relationship between storage and discharge variance was evaluated using low‐flow recession analysis and a water balance equation that ignores the influence of rainfall and evapotranspiration. Based on the obtained storage–discharge sensitivity, this study explored whether the water storage and discharge behaviour of the studied basins is susceptible to climate change or human activities and discusses the regional differences in storage–discharge sensitivity. The results showed that the average storage–discharge sensitivities were 0.056 and 0.162 mm⁻¹ in the northern and southern regions of Taiwan, respectively. In the central and eastern regions, the values were both 0.020 mm⁻¹. The storage–discharge sensitivity was very high in the southern region. The regional differences in storage–discharge sensitivity with similar climate conditions are primarily due to differences in aquifer properties. Based on the recession curve, other factors responsible for these differences include land utilization, land coverage, and rainfall patterns during dry and wet seasons. These factors lead to differences in groundwater recharge and thus to regional differences in storage–discharge sensitivity.