Modeling Earth Systems and Environment

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 251–262 | Cite as

GIS-based soil loss estimation using RUSLE model: a case of Kirindi Oya river basin, Sri Lanka

  • N. C. Wijesundara
  • N. S. Abeysingha
  • D. M. S. L. B. Dissanayake
Original Article


Soil erosion is one of the main reasons for low crop productivity. Identification of areas vulnerable to soil erosion is crucial in applying soil conservation measures especially in river basin. Kirindi Oya river basin is one of the important river basins that supply irrigation for the downstream dry zone of Sri Lanka. This study assessed the soil erosion and generated soil erosion hazard map for Kirindi Oya basin using revised universal soil loss equation (RUSLE) model in Arc GIS 10.2. Predicted soil erosion rates estimated from RUSLE model ranged from 19 to 184 t ha−1 year−1 with an average 33 t ha−1 year−1 for the entire river basin. The basin was categorized into five different erosion hazard classes, low, moderate, high, very high, and extremely high. The study revealed that majority of extremely vulnerable soil erosion areas (> 60 t ha−1 year−1) belongs to Haldummulla area in Badulla district of the basin. About 47% of the basin area in the dry zone was categorized into low erosion hazard class (< 30 t ha−1 year−1). However, these soil loss rates were above the critical soil loss rates (6.7 t ha−1 year−1) stipulated to dry zone, Sri Lanka. The results of this study may help stakeholders to implement soil conservation measures in the Kirindi Oya basin.


Kirindi Oya Revised universal soil loss equation Soil erosion Soil erosion hazard map 



We wish to thank to the Department of Meteorology and Natural Resources Management in Sri Lanka for providing rainfall data used in this study. In addition, we wish to thank staff of the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature)—country office of Sri Lanka, for providing the land use maps for this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agricultural Engineering and Soil Science, Faculty of AgricultureRajarata University of Sri LankaAnuradhapuraSri Lanka
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Management, Faculty of Social Science and HumanitiesRajarata University of Sri LankaAnuradhapuraSri Lanka

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