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Impacts of urbanization on hydrology in the Yangtze River Delta, China

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The Yangtze River Delta is one of the most developed regions in China and the rapid development of urbanization have greatly influenced regional hydrology and water resources. Taking several typical urbanizing areas in the Yangtze River Delta as examples, this paper probes into the impacts of urbanization on hydrologic cycle and hydrological process with the support of RS, GIS and hydrological model. The research centers on the impacts of urbanization on precipitation, hydrological process, river networks, and water environment in some typical cities. The results show that: (1) Urban rain island effect is not evident when the process of urbanization is slow, while the differences of annual precipitation and flood season precipitation between urban and suburban areas increased to a certian extent in the booming stage of urbanization. (2) The annual runoff depth and the runoff coefficient increased with the development of urbanization, and the effect will be more notable when the urban areas expand to a certain size; (3) River network systems, especially low-grade rivers have been greatly destroyed in the process of urbanization, which increases the risk of flood and water degradation, so it is very important to protect natural river systems. Based on the results, some proposals of sustainable utilization and protection of water resources is also addressed.

Keywords: hydrological response, the Yangtze River Delta, urbanization

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