KWRRI Research Reports


Reservoirs are built to control floods, provide water for irrigation and municipal supply, generate electric power, augment low flows for navigation and water quality control, and provide improved fishing and recreation opportunity. A reservoir is justified if the benefit it provides to society exceeds the cost to develop it. Much research has been done to determine the benefit of a water resources development to society as a whole. Some research has explored the benefit of such a facility to a region. Very little research exists on the effects of a reservoir on the immediately surrounding area.

It seems reasonable that effects caused by the proximity of a reservoir intensify as one draws closer to the lake. Demand for land shifts from uses unrelated to the project to project oriented uses. Property value changes, and some landowners are able to reap large profits. Others, forced to sell all their land for construction of the reservoirs are not so fortunate. Simultaneously, land use change affect the environmental quality experienced by third parties, adjacent land owners and visitors to the area. By examining the spatial patterns of land use changes around a reservoir, this study hopes to aid planners anticipate wind fall profits to landowners, improve environmental quality control, guide the land use planning of surrounding communities, and project future demands for increased services placed on local governments.

The general hypothesis of this study is that the spatial patterns of land use change are influenced by economic and geographic characteristics of the reservoir and reservoir area. Several hypotheses concerning the effects of relative location around the reservoir, the effects of relative location on a peninsula, the effects of the characteristics of an individual site, and the effects of road access are tested using analysis of variance and multiple regression. The data used for the analysis is based on Lake Cumberland, a reservoir in Southern Kentucky.

The area immediately surrounding the lake is divided into 19 peninsulas, and each of these is subdivided into 100 quadralaterals. For each of these quadralaterals data such as slope, water frontage, and land use changes are obtained, This method of subdivision allows comparison of the patterns of land use changes on peninsulas as well as around the lake. Land use for the four years - 1938, 1951, 1960, and 1967 - provide the basis for computing the land use changes. All areas for each date are classified as residential, commercial, public, or agricultural. Any location shifting among these categories is defined as a land use change.

The analysis indicates patterns of land use change surrounding the lake. Factors such as road access, slope, view, and location on a peninsula proved to be significantly associated with different patterns of land use change. Both the patterns and their degree of association with other variables have shifted over time. The probability of experiencing land use change for each observed combination of the significant factors is calculated for three periods in project time. From such information, it is possible to simulate land use change around other reservoirs.

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"Patterns of Land Use Change Around a Large Reservoir" is based on research performed as part of a project entitled "The Economic Impact of Flood Control Reservoirs" (OWRR Project No. A-006-KY) sponsored by the University of Kentucky Water Resources Institute and supported in part by funds provided by the United States Department of the Interior as authorized under the Water Resources Research Act of 1964, Public Law 88-379.