Document Type : Original Article


Faculty of Earth Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran


Introduction: Groundwater is considered the most important source for various uses in arid and semi-arid regions. Thus, evaluating the effects of human activities such as changes in land use/cover on groundwater resources plays a vital role in sustainable water management and, therefore, spatial planning. Accordingly, the need to integrate land use planning and water resources management is widely emphasized. In addition, perceiving the spatio-temporal relationship between land use changes and groundwater resources is crucial for the sustainable management of the plains in Iran. The present study aimed to assess this relationship in the Hamedan-Bahar Plain.
Material and methods: In the study, the land use maps of 1989, 1997, 2005, 2013, and 2018 were prepared from Landsat satellite images, categorized, and evaluated with respect to accuracy. Further, six uses including irrigated and dry agricultural lands, rangelands and elevations, man-made areas, gardens, and surface water resources were extracted and classified. Furthermore, the distribution maps for groundwater depth were prepared through kriging for five years based on the piezometric data. Finally, the correlation and relationship between land use changes and groundwater depth fluctuations were determined by the REGRESS method.

Results and discussion: The land use maps demonstrated an increase in the share of rangelands and elevations (9.68% in 1989 to 40.85% in 2018) and their conversion to dry agricultural lands. Additionally, the share of man-made and irrigated agricultural lands increased from 1.27 to 2.45% and 5.32 to 6.25% during the timespan, respectively. The trend of changes in groundwater level was more evident in the flatbed of the plain, in which groundwater level was less than 1800 m and important habitats and irrigated agricultural lands were available. In addition, the average annual depletion of groundwater level for a 29-year time span was 0.91 m, and the minimum and maximum of the R–value related to five study periods was obtained 0.36 and 0.40 based on the REGRESS method, respectively. Further, the role of managerial factors should be considered as well as the relative relationship between groundwater level changes and land use. Furthermore, the correlation between the decrease in groundwater level and land use in each period relatively increased compared to the previous one by representing an R-value of 0.40 during 1989-2018, which can explain almost 16.2% of their changes. Due to the water resource scarcity, land use should be planned based on the scale, power, and extent of plains and watersheds in order to attain a sustainable regional water system.

Conclusion: The results of the study can play an important role in understanding the importance of groundwater resources and emphasize the necessity of paying more attention to the effects and changes of land use on groundwater in arid and semi-arid regions. Additionally, the results indicated the sensitivity of groundwater, as the most important water resource in the plains located in arid and semi-arid regions, to the types of variations. Decreasing rangelands, gardens, aqueduct, and surface water-dependent thickets as well as expanding dry and irrigated agricultural and man-made lands are regarded as some of the factors reducing groundwater level in the region. It is worth noting that these factors should be integrally evaluated with respect to other factors such as irrigation systems, water pricing, cultivation pattern, agricultural economics, and an increase in runoff.


Adimalla, N. and Wu, J., 2019. Groundwater quality and associated health risks in a semi-arid region of south India: Implication to sustainable groundwater management. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment: An international journal. 25(1-2), 191-216.
Adimalla, N. and Li, P., 2018. Occurrence, health risks, and geochemical mechanisms of fluoride and nitrate in groundwater of the rock-dominant semi-arid region, Telangana State, India. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment: An International Journal, 25(1-2), 81-103.
Ainiwaer, M., Ding, J., Wang, J. and Nasierding, N., 2019. Spatiotemporal dynamics of water table depth associated with changing agricultural land use in an arid zone oasis. Water. 11(4), 673.
Arnold, C.A., 2005. Clean-water land use: Connecting scale and function. Pace Environmental Law (PELR) Review. 23, 291.
Batelaan, O., De Smedt, F. and Triest, L., 2003. Regional groundwater discharge: phreatophyte mapping, groundwater modelling and impact analysis of land-use change. Journal of Hydrology .
275(1–2), 86–108.
Bhat, V., Prajwal, M., Shetty, A., Srivastava., A. and Bhosale, R., 2018. Spatiotemporal relationship linking land use/land cover with groundwater level. In Groundwater; Springer: Berlin, Germany.
Brauman, K.A., Freyberg, D.L. and Daily, G.C., 2015. Impacts of land-use change on groundwater supply: ecosystem services assessment in Kona, Hawaii. Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management. 141(12), A4014001.
Eastman, J., 2012. Idrisi Selva Tutorial. Idrisi Production. Second ed. Clark Labs-Clark University Press. Worcester, Massachusetts.
Foley, J.A., DeFries, R., Asner, G.P., Barford, C., Bonan, G., Carpenter, S.R., Chapin, F.S., Coe, M.T., Daily, G.C., Gibbs, H.K., Helkowski, J.H., Holloway, T., Howard, E.A., Kucharik, C.J., Monfreda, C., Patz, J.A., Prentice, I.C., Ramankutty, N. and Snyder, P.K., 2005. Global consequences of land use. Science. 309, 570–574.
Foster, S. and Cherlet, J., 2014. The links between land use and groundwater: governance provisions and management strategies to secure a ‘sustainable harvest’. GWP Perspectives Paper. Global Water Partnership, Stockholm.
Foster, S., Chilton, J., Nijsten, G. and Richts, A., 2013. Groundwater, a global focus on the ‘local resource’. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability. 5, 685-95.
Ghazavi, R. and Ebrahimi, H., 2016. Impacts of land-use change on groundwater resources using remote sensing and numerical modeling. Journal of Biodiversity and Environmental Sciences. 9, 149-157.
Ghassemi Nejad Raeini, M.R. and Marofi, S., 2011. study of water use efficiency in the potato farms of hamadan-bahar plain , Journal of Water Sciences and Engineering Summer. 1(1), 87-94. (in Persian with English abstract)
Ghasemi, A., Zare Abyaneh, H., Shahsavar, A.M. and Yaghobi Kikileh, B., 2010. the study of variation of quality and quantity of ground water in hamedan-bahar area. Plant and Ecosystem. 6(23), 109-127. (in Persian with English abstract)
Gleeson, T.K. M., Befus, S., Jasechko, E., Luijendijk, M. and M. Cardenas, M.B., 2015. The global volume and distribution of modern groundwater, Nature Geoscience. 9, 161 -167.
Hamedan Regional Water Company. 2015. Vision of Water in Hamadan Province, Vol 77. Hamedan Regional Water Company Research Report. Hamedan. (In Persian with English abstract)
Hamedan Regional Water Company. 2019. Water Statical Yearbook of Hamadan Province .Hamedan Regional Water Company Research Report. Hamedan. (In Persian with English abstract)
Hoff, H., 2002. The water challenge: Joint Water Project. Global Change Newsletter. 50, 46‐48.
Kord, M. and Moghadam, A., b2014. Evaluating the quality of drinking water in aquifer of Ardabil plain by using co-kriging and Fuzzy logic. Journal of Water and Soil Conservation Studies. 21, 225-40. (In Persian with English abstract)
Kord, M. and Moghaddam, A., a 2014. Spatial analysis of Ardabil plain aquifer potable groundwater using fuzzy logic. Journal of King Saud University-Science. 26, 129-40. (In Persian with English abstract)
Lerner, D. and Harris, B. 2009. The relationship between land use and groundwater resources and quality. Land Use Policy. 26, 265-273.
Madani, K., 2014. Water management in Iran: what is causing the looming crisis? Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences. 4, 315-28. (In Persian with English abstract)
Mishra, N., Khare, D., Gupta, K. and Shukla R. 2014. Impact of land use change on groundwater‐a review. Advances in Water Resource and Protection. 2, 28-41.
Nasrollahi, M., Mombeini, M., Valizadeh, S. and Khosravi, H., 2014. Investigating the effect of trend of land use and cover changes on groundwater situation by using satellite images (case study of Gilangharb plain), Geographic Information Research. 23, 89-97. (In Persian with English abstract)
Pan, Y., Gong, H., ZHou, D., Li, X. and Nakagoshi, N., 2011. Impact of land use change on groundwater recharge in Guishui River Basin, China. Chinese Geographical Science, 21(6), 734-743.
Pucci Jr, A.A. and Pope, D.A., 1995. Simulated effects of development on regional ground-water/surface-water interactions in the northern Coastal Plain of New Jersey. Journal of Hydrology, 167(1-4), 241-262.
Rawat, J.S. and Manish, K., 2015. Monitoring land use/cover change using remote sensing and GIS techniques: A case study of Hawalbagh block, district Almora, Uttarakhand, India. National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences. The Egyptian Journal of Remote Sensing and Space Sciences. 18, 77–84.
Rouhani, S., peykani machiani, G.H.R. and Taghdiri., B., 2007. Determination of optimum cropping pattern with the emphasis on sustain ability of water resources: a case study in Bahar Plain- Hamedan. Agricultural Research. 7 , 85-96. (In Persian with English abstract)
Sato, K. and Iwasa, Y., 2003. Groundwater Hydraulics. First ed. Tokyo: Springer‐Verlag.
Schwartz, F. and Zhang, H., 2003. Fundamentals of Ground Water: Wiley New York. USA.
Seyedan, S.M., Kohansal, M.R. and Ghorbani, M., 2017. Achieving optimal path of extracting groundwater resources considering the side effects in Hamadan-Bahar Plain. Journal of Watershed Management Research, 8, 191-103. (in Persian with English abstract)
Science Press, 2011. Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
Shrestha, P.M. 2006. Comparison of ordinary least square regression, spatial autoregression, and geographically weighted regression for modeling forest structural attributes using a geographical information system (GIS)/remote sensing (RS) approach. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada.
Singh, C., Shashtri, S., Mukherjee, S., Kumari, R., Avatar, R. and Singh, A., 2011. Application of GWQI to assess effect of land use change on groundwater quality in lower Shiwaliks of Punjab: remote sensing and GIS based approach. Water Resources Management.25, 1881-98.
Sun, G., McNulty, S., Moore Myers, J.A. and Cohen, E.C., 2008. Impacts of climate change, population growth, land use change, and groundwater availability on water supply and demand across the conterminous U.S. Watershed Update (AWRA Hydrology and Watershed Management Technical Committee). 6, -2 28.
TaghipourJavi, S., 2012. Analyzing land use changes concerning groundwater reduction (The studied region: Khanmiraza, Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari, Master's thesis, University of Tehran. Tehran. Iran. (In Persian with English abstract)
Verma, P., Singh, P. and Srivastava, S.K., 2020. Impact of land use change dynamics on sustainability of groundwater resources using earth observation data. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 22(6), 5185-5198.
Wagner, P.D., Kumar, S. and Schneider, K., 2013. An assessment of land use change impacts on the water resources of the Mula and Mutha Rivers catchment upstream of Pune, India. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 17(6), 2233-2246.
Ministry of Power. 2018. Water Statistical Yearbook of Iran, 2013-14. Ministry of Power Research Report. Tehran, Iran.
WWAP (United Nations World Water Assessment Program), 2015. The United Nation World Water Development Report 2015: Water for a Sustainable World. Paris. UNESCO.
Xu, Y., Mo, X., Cai, Y. and Li, X. 2005. Analysis on groundwater table drawdown by land use and the quest for sustainable water use in the Hebei Plain in China. Agricultural Water Management. 75, 38-53.
Zhang, L., Dawes, W. and Walker, G., 2001. Response of mean annual evapotranspiration to vegetation changes at catchment scale. Water Resources Research. 37, 701-8.