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Is there a link between agricultural land-use management and flooding?

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Enda O'Connell, Professor John Ewen, Dr Greg O'Donnell, Dr Paul Quinn


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Over the past fifty years, significant changes in UK land use and management practices have occurred, driven by UK and EU agricultural policies. There is substantial evidence that modern land-use management practices have enhanced surface runoff generation at the local scale, frequently creating impacts through 'muddy floods'. Such local impacts can he avoided or mitigated through the adoption of better land management practices and/or small scale surface runoff control measures. There is little evidence that local scale changes in runoff generation propagate downstream to create impacts at the larger catchment scale. This does not imply that impacts do not exist, but the very few studies in which evidence has been sought have not produced any conclusive findings. Multiscale catchment experimentation, linked to new developments in modelling, is needed which can lead to a better understanding of how small scale changes to runoff generation propagate to larger catchment scales. To facilitate the tracking of changes from the local to the catchment scale, a new modelling approach is demonstrated which allows a downstream flood hydrograph to be mapped back onto its source areas, thus presenting impact information to users in a useful and comprehensible form.

Publication metadata

Author(s): O'Connell PE, Ewen J, O'Donnell GM, Quinn PF

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Hydrology and Earth System Sciences

Year: 2007

Volume: 11

Issue: 1

Pages: 96-107

ISSN (print): 1027-5606

ISSN (electronic): 1607-7938

Publisher: Copernicus GmbH