SWAT Literature Database for Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Title:Assessing the effects of small dams on stream flow and water quality in an agricultural watershed 
Authors:Yongbo, L., Y. Wanhong, Y. Zhiquiang, L. Ivana, J. Yarotski, J. Elliott and K. Tiessen 
Journal:Journal of Hydrologic Engineering 
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URL (non-DOI journals): 
Broad Application Category:hydrologic & pollutant 
Primary Application Category:impoundment and/or wetland effects 
Secondary Application Category:none 
Watershed Description:74.6 km^2 South Tobacco Creek in southern Manitoba, Canada 
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Abstract:Small dams and associated reservoirs have notable effects on soil and water dynamics in Prairie streams. In this study, we developed a simulation module of small dams in the SWAT to evaluate their long-term effects on stream flow and water quality at a watershed scale. To overcome the challenges in characterizing small storage and short retention time in small reservoir routing, concepts of equivalent reservoir storage and equivalent reservoir discharge are applied by which the average daily storage and daily discharge of the small reservoirs are calculated. Accordingly, the sediment deposition and nutrient abatement within the reservoir are computed using available SWAT routines. The effects of small dams in reduction of daily peak flow, sediment and nutrient loads at the watershed outlet are obtained by summing the effects of all small dams within the watershed considering both reservoir and channel processes. The model is applied to the 74.6 km2 South Tobacco Creek watershed located in Southern Manitoba of Canada. A total of 26 small dams exist in the watershed with surface area ranging from 0.002 to 0.492 km2 and storage capacity from 3,380 to 642,000 m3. The simulation results show that the combined effect of these small dams can reduce daily peak flow by 0 to 14% at the watershed outlet depending on climate and initial reservoir storage conditions. The estimated average annual sediment, total nitrogen and total phosphorus reductions at the watershed outlet are about 4.51%, 3.59% and 2.96% respectively. However, the on-site effects of individual small dams are much higher depending on its size, location, shape, drainage area and land use compositions in the contribution area. The simulation results also show that snowmelt flooding events have higher reduction amounts but lower relative reduction rates compared to rainfall storm events and the back-flood small dams have greater impact on sediment, nitrogen, and phosphorous abatement followed by multi-purpose small dams and dry dams in the study watershed. 
Keywords:Small dam, Stream flow, Water quality, SWAT, South Tobacco Creek