Impacts of Ongoing Land-Use Change on Watershed Hydrology and Crop Production Using an Improved SWAT Model Academic Article uri icon


  • The southern Ogallala Aquifer continues to deplete due to decades of irrigation with minimal recharge. Recently enacted regulations limiting groundwater withdrawals and the potential for farm profitability with cotton production systems indicate driving forces for increased cotton production acreage in the Northern High Plains of Texas (NHPT). This study focused on evaluating the land-use change from corn or winter wheat to cotton under irrigation and dryland conditions in the Palo Duro watershed (PDW) in the NHPT using an improved Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model. Land-use change from irrigated corn to irrigated cotton led to reductions in average (20002014) annual irrigation, actual evapotranspiration (ETa), and surface runoff by 21%, 7%, and 63%, respectively. Nevertheless, the replacement of irrigated wheat with irrigated cotton caused irrigation and ETa to increase by 46% and 18%, respectively. Land-use conversion from dryland wheat to dryland cotton showed 0.1% and 15% decreases in ETa and surface runoff, respectively. More than 40% reductions in simulated cotton yields were found when the cotton planting area was moving northward to the cooler NHPT. The ongoing change in land use provided an option to lengthen the water availability of the southern Ogallala Aquifer for irrigation.

published proceedings

  • LAND

author list (cited authors)

  • Li, B., Marek, G., Marek, T., Porter, D., Ale, S., Moorhead, J., ... Chen, Y.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Li, Baogui||Marek, Gary WW||Marek, Thomas HH||Porter, Dana OO||Ale, Srinivasulu||Moorhead, Jerry EE||Brauer, David KK||Srinivasan, Raghavan||Chen, Yong

publication date

  • 2023


published in