SWAT Literature Database for Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Title:Simulation of hydrology and nutrient transport in the Hetao Irrigation District, Inner Mongolia, China 
Authors:Wu, Y., X. Shi, C. Li, S. Zhao, F. Pen and T.R. Green 
Article ID:169 
URL (non-DOI journals): 
Broad Application Category:hydrologic & pollutant 
Primary Application Category:nutrient cycling/loss and transport 
Secondary Application Category:irrigation impacts or irrigation BMP scenarios 
Watershed Description:11,195 km^2 Hetao irrigation district drainage area, located in the Bayenaoer region of Inner Mongolia in north central China. 
Calibration Summary: 
Validation Summary: 
General Comments: 
Abstract:Intensive agricultural activities in the Hetao irrigation district have severely degraded local aquatic ecosystems and water quality, and Ulansuhai Lake is now the most rapidly degrading eutrophic lake in China. A better understanding of the hydro-agronomic and pollutant transport processes in the area is thus urgently needed. This study simulated monthly streamflow, total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP) for the Hetao irrigation district using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) to evaluate the nutrient load, source areas, and hydrological pathways. The Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency (NSE) values obtained for the streamflow simulations were 0.75 and 0.78 for the calibration and evaluation periods, respectively. The SWAT model captured the temporal variation in streamflow (R2 > 0.8) for two periods; the NSE values for the TN and TP loads were 0.63 and 0.64 for the calibration period and 0.48 and 0.42 for the evaluation period, respectively. The predicted monthly TN load was correlated with irrigation (r = 0.61) and the monthly TP load with precipitation (r = 0.89), indicating that nitrogen transport is primarily associated with soil leaching and groundwater flow, and phosphorus is primarily transported by sediments caused by rainfall erosion. A case study of split nitrogen fertilizer applications demonstrated reduced annual TN load by as much as 13% in one year. Fertilization timing also affects the load in different pathways especially in lateral subsurface flow and shallow groundwater. Better agricultural management could thus reduce nitrogen losses, and buffer strips could minimize phosphorus transport. 
Keywords:hydrology in irrigation districts; Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model; agriculture non-point source pollution; groundwater