Water Science and Engineering 2017, 10(4) 257-264 DOI:   https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wse.2017.12.007  ISSN: 1674-2370 CN: 32-1785/TV

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Ecological model
Distributed hydrological model
Heihe River Basin

A distributed eco-hydrological model and its application

Zong-xue Xu a, b, *, Lei Li a, c, Jie Zhao a, b

a College of Water Sciences, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
b Beijing Key Laboratory of Urban Hydrological Cycle and Sponge City Technology, Beijing 100875, China
c Bureau of Hydrology, Ministry of Water Resources of China, Beijing 100053, China


Eco-hydrological processes in arid areas are the focus of many hydrological and water resources studies. However, the hydrological cycle and the ecological system have usually been considered separately in most previous studies, and the correlation between the two has not been fully understood. Interdisciplinary research on eco-hydrological processes using multidisciplinary knowledge has been insufficient. In order to quantitatively analyze and evaluate the interaction between the ecosystem and the hydrological cycle, a new kind of eco-hydrological model, the ecology module for a grid-based integrated surface and groundwater model (Eco-GISMOD), is proposed with a two-way coupling approach, which combines the ecological model (EPIC) and hydrological model (GISMOD) by considering water exchange in the soil layer. Water interaction between different soil layers is simply described through a generalized physical process in various situations. A special method was used to simulate the water exchange between plants and the soil layer, taking into account precipitation, evapotranspiration, infiltration, soil water replenishment, and root water uptake. In order to evaluate the system performance, the Heihe River Basin in northwestern China was selected for a case study. The results show that forests and crops were generally growing well with sufficient water supply, but water shortages, especially in the summer, inhibited the growth of grass and caused grass degradation. This demonstrates that water requirements and water consumption for different kinds of vegetation can be estimated by considering the water-supply rules of Eco-GISMOD, which will be helpful for the planning and management of water resources in the future.

Keywords Ecological model   Distributed hydrological model   EPIC   GISMOD   Heihe River Basin  
Received 2017-03-23 Revised 2017-09-19 Online: 2017-10-30 
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wse.2017.12.007

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 91125015).

Corresponding Authors: zongxuexu@vip.sina.com (Zong-xue Xu)
Email: zongxuexu@vip.sina.com
About author:


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