Li Fu

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Chansheng He

Second Advisor

Dr. Charles Emerson

Third Advisor

Dr. Gregory Veeck

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only


The Heihe River Basin is the second largest inland river basin in arid Northwest China. The expanding agricultural irrigation, growing industrialization, and increasing urban development in the middle reach have depleted much of the river flow to the lower reach, degrading the ecosystems. Started in 2000, implementing the water allocation mandate of the State Council of China, local governmental agencies in the middle reach have made significant changes in crop patterns to discharge a larger amount of water downstream. This study analyzed land use/land cover changes in the middle reach between 2000 and 2009 using Landsat images. The results, while yet to be further verified in the field, show that from 2000 to 2009, urban, agricultural land, rangeland, and forest areas were increased; and barren land was reduced. Within the cropland, rice planting area was reduced; corn and wheat planting areas were increased to ensure discharge of the required amount of water to the lower reach. While a number of factors such as climate and market demand may have impacted the amount of streamflow downstream, it seems that the middle reach distributed more water to the lower reach every year since the water allocation mandate had been issued.

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