Anthropogenic impacts on continental surface water fluxes
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Impacts of reservoirs and irrigation water withdrawals on continental surface water fluxes are studied within the framework of the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) model for a part of North America, and for Asia. A reservoir model, designed for continental‐scale simulations, is developed and implemented in the VIC model. The model successfully simulates irrigation water requirements, and captures the main effects of reservoir operations and irrigation water withdrawals on surface water fluxes, although consumptive irrigation water use is somewhat underestimated. For the North American region, simulated irrigation water requirements and consumptive irrigation water uses are 191 and 98 km3year−1, while the corresponding numbers for the Asian region are 810 and 509 km3year−1, respectively. The consumptive uses represent a decrease in river discharge of 4.2 percent for the North American region, and 2.8 percent for the Asian region. The largest monthly decrease is about 30 percent, for the area draining the Western USA in June. The maximum monthly increase in streamflow (28 percent) is in March for the Asian Arctic region.