Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis




College of Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

L. Allan James


Changing land cover can drastically alter the hydrologic processes of a drainage basin. At the same time, the hydrologic processes that occur are governed by weather and climate of the region. The Southeastern United States, and more specifically the Piedmont region of South Carolina, is experiencing significant changes to the landscape and highly variable weather and climate conditions. Few modern hydrologic studies that investigate the impact from these dynamic variables on streamflow and the water balance within the region have taken place and further study is warranted because of the drastic change likely to occur. One objective of this thesis is to determine how increased low-density development alters streamflow and the water balance within a drainage basin characteristic to the Piedmont. The other objective is to test how streamflow and the water balance differ among two extreme weather periods and a period of moderate weather. The Arc SWAT model, and a land-use land-cover update module built within the model, were used to create scenarios for each research objective and non-parametric ANOVA tests were used to compare modeled simulations. The Arc SWAT model simulation assessments show that varying periods of extreme weather cause more significant changes to streamflow than the subtle changes in rural land cover within the region. Surprisingly, the Arc SWAT simulations of development resulted in decreased runoff. This resulted from assigning lower curve numbers to rural development within the model than for Hay or Rangeland conditions. The model did not simulate medium-density, or high-density, development that occurs in urban areas. Caution is advised when extrapolating the hydrologic response simulated in this study to urban or sub-urban environments within the Piedmont because of the vast generalization in land-use updates that occurred.


© 2016, Parker Douglas Leslie

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