SWAT Literature Database for Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Title:Spatial resolution of soil data and channel erosion effects on SWAT model predictions of flow and sediment 
Authors:Mukundan, R., D.E. Radcliffe and L.M. Risse 
Journal:Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 
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URL (non-DOI journals): 
Broad Application Category:hydrologic & pollutant 
Primary Application Category:soil data resolution effects 
Secondary Application Category:sediment loss and transport 
Watershed Description:182 km^2 North Fork Broad River in northwest Georgia, USA 
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Validation Summary: 
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Abstract:Water quality modeling efforts for developing total maximum daily loads often use geographical information system data of varying quality in watershed-scale models and have shown varying impacts on model results. Several streams in the southern Piedmont are listed for sediment total maximum daily loads. The objective of this study was to test the effect of spatial resolution of soil data on the SWAT (Soil and Water Assessment Tool) model predictions of flow and sediment and to calibrate the SWAT model for a watershed dominated by channel erosion. The state soil geographic (STATSGO) database mapped at 1:250,000 scale was compared with the soil survey geographic (SSURGO) database mapped at 1:12,000 scale in an ArcSWAT model of the North Fork Broad River in Georgia. Model outputs were compared for the effect of soil data before calibration using default model parameters as calibration can mask the effect of soil data. The model predictions of flow and sediment by the two models were similar, and the differences were statistically insignificant (α = 0.05). These results were attributed to the similarity in key soil property values in the two databases that govern stream flow and sediment transport. The two models after calibration had comparable model efficiency in simulating stream flow and sediment loads. The calibrated models indicated that channel erosion contributed most of the suspended sediment in this watershed. These findings indicate that less detailed soil data can be used because more time, effort, and computational resources are required to set up and calibrate a model with more detailed soil data, especially in a larger watershed. 
Keywords:channel erosion, sediment, soil database, stream flow