SWAT Literature Database for Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Title:Evaluating the effects of watershed size on SWAT calibration 
Authors:Wallace, C.W., D.C. Flanagan and B.A. Engel 
Article ID:898 
URL (non-DOI journals): 
Broad Application Category:hydrologic & pollutant 
Primary Application Category:regionalization of input parameters 
Secondary Application Category:calibration, sensitivity, and/or uncertainty analysis 
Watershed Description:679 km^2 Cedar creek, a tributary of the St. Joseph River, and three Cedar Creek subwatersheds: 183 km^2 F34, 42 km^2 AXL and 20 km^2 ALG; all located in northeast Indiana, U.S. 
Calibration Summary: 
Validation Summary: 
General Comments: 
Abstract:The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) has been calibrated in many watersheds of various sizes and physiographic features. However, it is still unclear whether SWAT calibration parameters will produce satisfactory results if they are implemented in watersheds of different sizes. Evaluating the transferability of SWAT calibration parameters between watersheds of different sizes will provide insight into whether it is acceptable to calibrate SWAT in one watershed and apply the optimized parameters in different size watersheds by assuming both watersheds have similar physiographic properties. This study investigated the influence of watershed size on the SWAT model calibration parameters transferability between four watersheds (CCW = 680 km2, F34 = 183 km2, AXL = 42 km2, and ALG = 20 km2) located in Northeastern Indiana. The results show that calibrating SWAT at one size and applying the optimized parameters at different watershed sizes of similar physiographic features provided satisfactory simulation results. The size watershed at which SWAT was calibrated had little effect on streamflow predictions. Soluble nitrogen loss estimates were improved when calibration was performed at the larger CCW watershed while calibrating SWAT at the smaller AXL and ALG watersheds produced improved statistical indicator values (NSE, R2, and PBIAS) for soluble P and total P when applied to the larger CCW and F34 watersheds. 
Keywords:nutrients; optimization; runoff; simulation; Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT); SWAT-CUP; watershed management