Articles | Volume 16, issue 8
Research article
13 Aug 2012
Research article |  | 13 Aug 2012

Quantitative analysis on the environmental impact of large-scale water transfer project on water resource area in a changing environment

D. H. Yan, H. Wang, H. H. Li, G. Wang, T. L. Qin, D. Y. Wang, and L. H. Wang

Abstract. The interbasin long-distance water transfer project is key support for the reasonable allocation of water resources in a large-scale area, which can optimize the spatio-temporal change of water resources to secure the amount of water available. Large-scale water transfer projects have a deep influence on ecosystems; besides, global climate change causes uncertainty and additive effect of the environmental impact of water transfer projects. Therefore, how to assess the ecological and environmental impact of megaprojects in both construction and operation phases has triggered a lot of attention. The water-output area of the western route of China's South-North Water Transfer Project was taken as the study area of the present article. According to relevant evaluation principles and on the basis of background analysis, we identified the influencing factors and established the diagnostic index system. The climate-hydrology-ecology coupled simulation model was used to simulate and predict ecological and environmental responses of the water resource area in a changing environment. The emphasis of impact evaluation was placed on the reservoir construction and operation scheduling, representative river corridors and wetlands, natural reserves and the water environment below the dam sites. In the end, an overall evaluation of the comprehensive influence of the project was conducted. The research results were as follows: the environmental impacts of the western route project in the water resource area were concentrated on two aspects: the permanent destruction of vegetation during the phase of dam construction and river impoundment, and the significant influence on the hydrological situation of natural river corridor after the implementation of water extraction. The impact on local climate, vegetation ecology, typical wetlands, natural reserves and the water environment of river basins below the dam sites was small.