The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model was applied to simulate the water balance in the Xiangjiang river watershed for current and planning scenarios of land uses. The model was first calibrated for the period from 1998 to 2002 and then validated for the period from 2003 to 2007 using the observed stream flow data from four monitoring gages within the watershed. The determination coefficient of linear regression of the observed and simulated monthly stream flows (R2) and their Nash–Sutcliffe Index (NSI) was used to evaluate model performance. All values of R2 and NSI were above 0.8 and ranged from 0.82 to 0.92, which indicates that the SWAT model was capable of simulating the stream flow in the Xiangjiang river watershed. The calibrated and validated SWAT model was then applied to study the hydrological response of three land use change scenarios. Runoff was reduced by increasing the areas of forest and grassland while simultaneously decreasing the areas of agricultural and urban land. In the recent and future land use planning for the Xiangjiang river watershed, the hydrological effect should be considered in regional water management and erosion control.