Estimating the Effect of Urban Growth on Annual Runoff Volume Using GIS in the Erbil Sub-Basin of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq
The growth and spread of impervious surfaces within urbanizing catchment areas pose signiificant threats to the quality of natural and built-up environments. Impervious surfaces prevent water infiltration into the soil, resulting in increased runoff generation. The Erbil Sub-basin was selected because the impervious cover is increasing rapidly and is affecting the hydrological condition of the watershed. The overall aim of this study is to examine the impact of urban growth and other changes in
... nd other changes in land use on runoff response during the study period of 1984 to 2014. The study describes long-term hydrologic responses within the rapidly developing catchment area of Erbil city, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Data from six rainfall stations in and around the Erbil Sub-basin were used. A Digital Elevation Model (DEM) was also used to extract the distribution of the drainage network. Historical levels of urban growth and the corresponding impervious areas, as well as land use/land cover changes were mapped from 1984 to 2014 using a temporal satellite image (Landsat) to determine land use/land cover changes. Land use/land cover was combined with a hydrological model (SCS-CN) to estimate the volume of runoff from the watershed. The study indicates that the urbanization of the watershed has increased the impervious land cover by 71% for the period from 1984 to 2004 and by 51% from 2004 to 2014. The volume of runoff was 85% higher in 2014 as compared to 1984 due to the increase in the impervious surface area; this is attributed to urban growth. The study also points out that the slope of the watershed in the Erbil sub-basin should be taken into account in surface runoff estimation as the upstream part of the watershed has a high gradient and the land is almost barren with very little vegetation cover; this causes an increase in the velocity of the flow and increases the risk of flooding in Erbil city.