University of Oulu

Samarasinghe JT, Makumbura RK, Wickramarachchi C, Sirisena J, Gunathilake MB, Muttil N, Teo FY, Rathnayake U. The Assessment of Climate Change Impacts and Land-use Changes on Flood Characteristics: The Case Study of the Kelani River Basin, Sri Lanka. Hydrology. 2022; 9(10):177.

The assessment of climate change impacts and land-use changes on flood characteristics : the case study of the Kelani River Basin, Sri Lanka

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Author: Samarasinghe, Jayanga T.1; Makumbura, Randika K.2; Wickramarachchi, Charuni3;
Organizations: 1Department of Earth Environmental and Resource Sciences, University of Texas, El Paso, TX 79968, USA
2Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology, Malabe 10115, Sri Lanka
3IHE Delft for Water Education, 2601 DA Delft, The Netherlands
4Department of Water Engineering and Management, University of Twente, 7522 NB Enschede, The Netherlands
5Hydrology and Aquatic Environment, Environment and Natural Resources, Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy and Research, 1433 Ås, Norway
6Water, Energy and Environmental Engineering Research Unit, Faculty of Technology, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 8000, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
7Institute for Sustainable Industries & Liveable Cities, Victoria University, P.O. Box 14428, Melbourne, VIC 8001, Australia
8College of Engineering and Science, Victoria University, P.O. Box 14428, Melbourne, VIC 8001, Australia
9Department of Civil Engineering, University of Nottingham, Semenyih 43500, Malaysia
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2022
Publish Date: 2023-06-19


Understanding the changes in climate and land use/land cover (LULC) over time is important for developing policies for minimizing the socio-economic impacts of riverine floods. The present study evaluates the influence of hydro-climatic factors and anthropogenic practices related to LULC on floods in the Kelani River Basin (KRB) in Sri Lanka. The gauge-based daily precipitation, monthly mean temperature, daily discharges, and water levels at sub-basin/basin outlets, and both surveyed and remotely sensed inundation areas were used for this analysis. Flood characteristics in terms of mean, maximum, and number of peaks were estimated by applying the peak over threshold (POT) method. Nonparametric tests were also used to identify the climatic trends. In addition, LULC maps were generated over the years 1988–2017 using Landsat images. It is observed that the flood intensities and frequencies in the KRB have increased over the years. However, Deraniyagala and Norwood sub-basins have converted to dry due to the decrease in precipitation, whereas Kithulgala, Holombuwa, Glencourse, and Hanwella showed an increase in precipitation. A significant variation in atmospheric temperature was not observed. Furthermore, the LULC has mostly changed from vegetation/barren land to built-up in many parts of the basin. Simple correlation and partial correlation analysis showed that flood frequency and inundation areas have a significant correlation with LULC and hydro-climatic factors, especially precipitation over time. The results of this research will therefore be useful for policy makers and environmental specialists to understand the relationship of flood frequencies with the anthropogenic influences on LULC and climatic factors.

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Series: Hydrology
ISSN: 2306-5338
ISSN-E: 2306-5338
ISSN-L: 2306-5338
Volume: 9
Issue: 10
Article number: 177
DOI: 10.3390/hydrology9100177
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 212 Civil and construction engineering
Copyright information: © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (