SWAT Literature Database for Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Title:Developing a decision support tool for assessing land use change and BMP's in ungauged watersheds based on decision rules provided by SWAT simulation 
Authors:Qi, J., S. Li, C.P.-A. Bourque, Z. Xing and F.-R. Meng 
Journal:Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 
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Broad Application Category:hydrologic & pollutant 
Primary Application Category:model comparison 
Secondary Application Category:pollutant cycling/loss and transport 
Watershed Description:300 km^2 Little River, a tributary of the Upper Saint John River located in northwest New Brunswick, Canada 
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Abstract:Decision making on water resources management at ungauged, especially large-scale watersheds relies on hydrological modeling. Physically based distributed hydrological models require complicated setup, calibration, and validation processes, which may delay their acceptance among decision makers. This study presents an approach to develop a simple decision support tool (DST) for decision makers and economists to evaluate multiyear impacts of land use change and best management practices (BMPs) on water quantity and quality for ungauged watersheds. The example DST developed in the present study was based on statistical equations derived from Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) simulations and applied to a small experimental watershed in northwest New Brunswick. The DST was subsequently tested against field measurements and SWAT simulations for a larger watershed. Results from DST could reproduce both field data and model simulations of annual stream discharge and sediment and nutrient loadings. The relative error of mean annual discharge and sediment, nitrate–nitrogen, and soluble-phosphorus loadings were -6, -52, 27, and -16 %, respectively, for long-term simulation. Compared with SWAT, DST has fewer input requirements and can be applied to multiple watersheds without additional calibration. Also, scenario analyses with DST can be directly conducted for different combinations of land use and BMPs without complex model setup procedures. The approach in developing DST can be applied to other regions of the world because of its flexible structure.