Theses and Dissertations


Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Parajuli, Prem B.

Committee Member

To, S.D. Filip

Committee Member

Ouyang, Ying

Committee Member

Wijewardane, Nuwan K.

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Campus Access Only 2 Years

Document Type

Dissertation - Campus Access Only


Biosystems Engineering

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering


Hydrology and water quality are affected by land use and climate changes. Mississippi’s diverse agro–ecosystem comprises of a range of land use land cover (LULC) including agriculture, forest, wetlands, urban, and grasslands. The objectives of this study were to investigate the impacts of various factors such as Best Management Practices (BMPs), wetlands, LULC, and climate changes on water quality and quantity. The hydrologic and water quality responses to dynamic LULC input in Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) were evaluated. Results showed that agricultural and forest expansion were major drivers of hydrologic and water quality changes in Big Sunflower River Watershed (BSRW), with agricultural expansion increasing runoff, sediments, and nutrients and forest expansion reducing these variables. The results showed that the integration of dynamic LULC and agricultural management operations in SWAT enables a more realistic representation of agricultural watersheds. Similarly, this study investigated the effects of wetland area changes overtime on surface and groundwater. Results demonstrated that 26% increase in wetland areas, reduced streamflow, sediments, total nitrogen, and total phosphorus by 2%, 37%, 13%, and 4% respectively as well as increased groundwater storage by 90 mm in selected sub–watershed. This highlighted the importance of preservation and restoration of wetlands to enhance the agro–ecosystem resilience to LULC change. Likewise, the effectiveness of BMPs in reducing sediment yield from critical areas within BSRW was assessed. Results demonstrated that BMPs reduced sediments by up to 50%, suggesting their usefulness in mitigating high sediment yield from agricultural areas. This study also assessed the impacts of climate change on streamflow and sediment loads and the role of waterbodies in mitigating those impacts. Results depicted a significant increase in future streamflow and sediment loads due to potential increase in precipitation and temperature. When waterbodies were simulated, projected change in annual streamflow was < 1%. However, the projected annual sediment loads reduced substantially by 44–46%, highlighting the role of waterbodies on watershed resilience to climate change. Overall, this dissertation study provides insights about the complex interactions between LULC, climate, anthropogenic activities, and water resources that can help to develop watershed management strategies to promote agricultural sustainability.