SWAT Literature Database for Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Title:Evaluation of SWAT soil water estimation accuracy using data from Indiana, Colorado, and Texas 
Authors:Hashem, A.A., B.A. Engel, G.W. Marek, J.E. Moorhead, D.C. Flanagan, M. Rashad, S. Radwan, V.F. Bralts and P.H. Gowda 
Journal:Transactions of the ASABE 
Volume (Issue):63(6) 
Article ID: 
URL (non-DOI journals): 
Broad Application Category:hydrologic only 
Primary Application Category:groundwater and/or soil water impacts 
Secondary Application Category:irrigation impacts or irrigation BMP scenarios 
Watershed Description:21.2 km^2 ALG drainage area, a tributary of Cedar Creek located in northeast Indiana; 20 ha research site located near Bushland, Texas; and 16 ha research site located at the Limited Irrigation Research Farm near Greeley, Colorado; all located in the U.S. 
Calibration Summary: 
Validation Summary: 
General Comments: 
Abstract:Soil water content (SWC) is a challenging measurement at the field, watershed, and regional scales. Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) soil water estimates were evaluated at three locations: the St. Joseph River watershed (SJRW) in northeast Indiana, the USDA-ARS Conservation and Production Research Laboratory (CPRL) at Bushland, Texas, and the USDA-ARS Limited Irrigation Research Farm (LIFR) at Greeley, Colorado. The soil water estimates were evaluated under two scenarios: (1) for the defined soil profile, and (2) by individual layer. Each site’s soil water assessment was performed based on the existing management conditions during each experiment, whether dryland or irrigated, and for various periods depending on SWC measurement availability at each site. The SWAT soil water was evaluated as follows: the Indiana site was evaluated under dryland conditions using daily soil water observations for one year; the Texas site was evaluated for a ten-year period under irrigated and dryland conditions using weekly soil water observations from four lysimeters; and the Colorado site was evaluated under irrigated conditions for a four-year period. The simulated soil water was evaluated by comparing the model simulations with observed daily and weekly soil water measurements at the three sites. Based on the results, even though all the SWAT models were considered to perform as good models following calibration (streamflow, ET, etc.), the soil water simulations were unacceptable for the defined soil profile and for individual layers at the three sites. Deeper soil layers had observations greater than field capacity values, indicating poor soil parameterization. The dryland model had greater water content than the irrigated model, contradicting the soil water measurements. This greater soil water simulation with the dryland model is a result of SWAT model uncertainties with ET reduction under dryland conditions due to water stress. This study indicated that soil water estimation using the default SWAT soil water equations has many sources of uncertainties. Two apparent sources resulted in the SWAT model’s poor performance: (1) SWAT soil water routines that do not fully represent soil water moving between layers to meet plant demand and (2) uncertainty in soil parameterization. 
Keywords:Hydrologic modeling, Soil moisture, Soil moisture sensor, Soil water, Soil and Water Assessment Tool