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Modeling Hydrologic Processes and NPS


Pollution in a Small Watershed in Subhumid
Subtropics Using SWAT

Article in Journal of Hydrologic Engineering · March 2012


DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)HE.1943-5584.0000458

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Technical Note

Modeling Hydrologic Processes and NPS Pollution in a


Small Watershed in Subhumid Subtropics Using SWAT
Ashok Mishra1 and S. Kar2

Abstract: The soil and water assessment tool (SWAT) has been calibrated and validated to predict stream flow, and to transport sediment and
non-point source (NPS) pollutants to the downstream water resources from a small (1,695 ha) watershed in sub-humid subtropics that receives
variable monsoon rains. Observed rainfall, temperature, stream flow, and sediment yield data for three years have been utilized to test the
model's prediction capability for daily stream flow and sediment yield during the monsoon months from June to October. Because of the
variability of monsoon rains, the model has been calibrated for a normal rainfall year (M-SD < RF < M þ SD and RF ¼ 1:2 M) and then
validated for a relatively dry (RF < M-SD) and a medium rainfall year (RF > M-SD and RF < 0:8M). The results reveal that a calibrated
model for a normal rainfall year can be used successfully for predicting hydrologic processes and NPS pollution for a relatively dry rainfall
year. However, for the medium rainfall year the model prediction shows more deviations from the measured values. The Nash-Sutcliffe
efficiencies in dry and medium rainfall years are 0.70 and 0.62 for daily stream flow and 0.73 and 0.69 for daily sediment yield. NPS
pollutants simulation results indicate that a calibrated SWAT model is used in estimating hydrologic responses related to water quality prob-
lems of watersheds situated in monsoon regions in which the nature of rainfall shows varying characteristics every year. The results
of the study have implications for watershed management to reduce the sediment and NPS pollutants load into downstream water bodies.
DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)HE.1943-5584.0000458. © 2012 American Society of Civil Engineers.
CE Database subject headings: Hydrologic models; Runoff; Sediment; Nonpoint pollution; Monsoons.
Author keywords: Modeling; SWAT; Runoff; Sediment yield; Non-point source pollutants; Monsoon rains.

Introduction In recent years, a number of conceptual watershed models have


been developed. Among these, the soil and water assessment tool
Hydrology plays a vital role in the protection and management (SWAT) has shown a wide range of applications (Gassman et al.
of water and other environmental resources associated with the 2007) and comes with a GIS interface and user support. Numerous
occurrence and distribution of water above and below the land studies on watershed water and soil resources management have
surface. Runoff is the most prominent process that needs a precise been conducted worldwide using the SWAT model. A few of these
study for solving the quantity and quality problems of water studies performed in various parts of the United States showed
resources. These problems are intensified in watersheds of sub- favorable comparisons for water flow and pollutant loading
humid, sub-tropical regions dominated by a monsoon climate (Rosenthal et al. 1995; Arnold and Allen 1996; Srinivasan et al.
in which heavy monsoon rains cause floods and severe erosion 1998; Arnold et al. 1999; Saleh et al. 2000; Santhi et al. 2001).
of the topsoil layer (Mandal et al. 2004), resulting in loss of soil In India, researchers used the SWAT model to conduct hydrologic
resources and pollution of water bodies (Kim and Delleur 2001) studies under climate change conditions (Gosain et al. 2006; Dhar
used for electricity generation, sanitation, irrigation, and other and Mazumdar 2009), sub-watershed prioritization and manage-
purposes. The widespread nature of these losses in response to ment perspective analysis (Behera and Panda 2006; Mishra et al.
hydrological processes, which are primarily affected by topogra- 2007), and regional hydrology for resource potential assessment
phy, soil, climate, and land use patterns of the area, makes their (Kusre et al. 2010).
measurement difficult and inaccurate using any deterministic pro- In mixed land use/land cover watersheds of humid and sub-
cedure. Because of such high complexity, NPS pollution is often humid regions receiving monsoon rains, agricultural activities
assessed by a modeling approach that combines hydrologic mod- are common and contribute agrochemicals to water resources along
els with the techniques of a geographic information system (GIS) with sediment transport during the monsoon period. Additional
and remote sensing (RS). studies are required to quantify the water quality effects of mon-
soon rains either on individual watersheds or on a regional basis.
1
Agricultural and Food Engineering Dept., Indian Institute of Technol- Because the assessment of these processes using measurements is
ogy, Kharagpur, Kharagpur (W.B.)-721302, India (corresponding author). costly and time consuming, modeling could serve as a tool for this
E-mail: amishra19@yahoo.com purpose. Keeping this background information and views in mind,
2
Agricultural and Food Engineering Dept., Indian Institute of Technol- we formulated our study with two main objectives: (1) calibration
ogy, Kharagpur, Kharagpur (W.B.)-721302, India. and validation of the SWAT model for stream flow and sediment
Note. This manuscript was submitted on August 10, 2009; approved on yield from a small multi-vegetated watershed situated in a sub-
June 10, 2011; published online on June 14, 2011. Discussion period open
until August 1, 2012; separate discussions must be submitted for individual
humid subtropical location in India, (2) simulation of NPS pollu-
papers. This technical note is part of the Journal of Hydrologic Engineer- tion (nitrate-N, ammonical-N, and soluble-P) using a validated
ing, Vol. 17, No. 3, March 1, 2012. ©ASCE, ISSN 1084-0699/2012/3- SWAT model, and (3) use the distributed model to gain a manage-
445–454/$25.00. ment perspective.

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Methodology soils varies at approximately 1:5 g=cm3 with moderately low satu-
rated hydraulic conductivities that range from 9.7 to 16:8 cm=day.
Study Watershed During monsoon season, the cultivation practices in the water-
shed comprise primarily the rice crop with a few scattered patches
A small mixed type watershed of approximately 1,695 hectares of black gram, maize, soyabean, and vegetables. However, the
named Banha and situated in Damodar Valley Corporation forest cover consists of a mixed forest of primarily sal (Shorea
(DVC) Command Hazaribagh, Jharkhand, India (Fig. 1) was robusta), mahua (Madhuca indica), kend (Diospyros melanoxy-
selected for the study. The watershed lies between 24° 13′ 30″N lon), and palas (Butea frondosa) trees.
and 24° 17′ 06″ N latitude and from 85° 13′ 50″E to 85° 16′ 15″
E longitude with an altitude variation from 398 to 440 m from Model Description
the mean sea level. Approximately 50% area of the watershed is The SWAT is a process-based, continuous-time, watershed scale
covered by shrubs and forest, 10% of the area is barren land, model developed by the USDA Agricultural Research Service
and 40% of the remaining land is under crop cultivations. The slope (ARS) to predict the effect of land management practices on water,
of the area varies from 1 to 18%, with an average slope of 1.9%. sediment, and agricultural chemical yields in large, complex water-
The average annual rainfall of the area is approximately 1,200 mm, shed having varying soils, land use, and management conditions
of which more than 80% occurs during the monsoon months from over long periods (Arnold et al. 1998). SWAT allows the partition-
June to October. The daily temperature ranges from a maximum of ing of the watershed into a number of subwatersheds or subbasins,
42.5 °C in June to a minimum of 2.5 °C in January. The daily mean and each subbasin is divided into hydrologic response units (HRUs)
relative humidity varies from a minimum of 21.72% during April to in which the hydrologic cycle is simulated on the basis of a water
a maximum of 90.36% during September. The overall climate of balance equation. Surface runoff volume is predicted from daily
the area is classified as sub-humid sub-tropical. rainfall using the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) curve number
The soils of the watershed have textures of sandy loam, loam, (CN) technique (USDA-SCS 1972) whereas the lateral subsurface
and clay loam. Loam soils are yellowish brown in color and have flow of water in the soil profile is calculated with the help of a
moderate permeability. The red loam soils are highly permeable, kinematic storage model given by Sloan and Moore (1984). Deep
slightly acidic in reaction, usually deficient in organic matter, nitro- percolated groundwater reappears as base flow in streams within
gen, and available phosphorus, and have a low base exchange watersheds from shallow, unconfined aquifers. The sediment yield
capacity, while the potash content is usually medium to high. Sandy from each subbasin of the watershed is computed by using the
loam soils are light yellowish brown in color and have moderate modified universal soil loss equation (Williams and Berndt 1977).
NPS pollutants, dissolved in stream flow, are estimated for each
permeability. Watershed soils belong to Khorahar Series (KH)
subbasin by calculating the total water movement as the sum of
and Paddy Soils (Class-I and III) as per the soil series classification
surface runoff, lateral flow, and percolated water from the top
adopted by the Soil Conservation Department of DVC, Hazaribagh.
10 cm of the soil layer, and multiplying by concentrations. Details
Overall, the watershed soils are neutral to slightly acidic with
of the model components and processes is found in Arnold et al.
medium organic matter and low salt content. Bulk density of the (1998) and in the theoretical documentation of SWAT 2000
(Neitsch et al. 2002).

Modeling Strategy and Database Development


A geographic information system (GIS, ArcGIS) was used to
develop and store the features of the watershed like topography,
soil type, texture, existing land use, land cover, water resources,
and drainage pattern as obtained from field measurements, topo-
graphic maps, and remotely sensed imagery. The physical and
chemical properties of the surface and subsurface soil layers (up
to 100 cm depth) were measured at 12 locations well-distributed
over the watershed (Fig. 1). The watershed was delineated from
the Survey of India topographic sheets and then registered in
the ArcInfo GIS tool. A digitized contour coverage was established
and a 30 m × 30 m digital elevation model (DEM) was generated
for estimating the slope, drainage pattern, and aspect of the water-
shed. The watershed was subdivided into five nested subwatersheds
on the basis of the drainage channels and land use/land cover
(Fig. 2). The satellite imageries (IRS-1C, October 28, 1996 and
IRS-1D, December 15, 2000) for the area were collected and
the study area was delineated. The imageries were then classified
(supervised classification) to get the information on current land
use/land cover of the watershed. The land use/land cover of the
watershed was classified into nine categories: low land paddy
(rice), upland crops, shallow water body, deep water body, growing
forest (new plantation), degraded forest, dense forest, fallow land,
and eroded land as shown for the year 1996 in Fig. 3. After clas-
sification of the imagery, the sub-watershed statistics of land use/
land cover were generated and used in CN estimation and assign-
Fig. 1. Banha watershed of DVC Command, Hazaribagh, Jharkhand,
ment of land use practices in the SWAT model. Standard CN value
India
was assigned to each pixel of the composite imagery [slope,

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antecedent moisture condition (AMC)-II (normal condition: where monsoon rains. The phosphatic fertilizer, single super phosphate
five days antecedent rainfall is between 3.5 to 5.0 mm during the (at the rate of 20 kg=ha), was applied at the time of field prepara-
growing season), soil group, land use/land cover] of the watershed. tion. Rice seedlings were transplanted during July 1–10. After
Then the calculations were made in each HRU and weighted aver- 20–25 days of transplanting, the first split of nitrogenous fertilizer,
ages were computed and assigned for each sub-watershed. urea, was applied at the rate of 25 kg=ha. The second split of
In SWAT simulation, the subwatershed’s fraction under crops N-fertilizer at the rate of 25 kg=ha was applied during last week
were considered as rice cropped land because of dominant rice of August or the first week of September. The crop was harvested
cultivation, and management took into account the local rice culti- at its full maturity from October 30 to November 10. Because the
vation practices. Rice fields were supplied with farm yard manure rice crop was fully rainfed, no irrigation was considered in rice crop
at the rate of 10 t=ha before field preparation, which was performed management options.
by ploughing and puddling the field with the help of a cultivator
and a puddler during June 21–30 depending on the onset of Model Calibration and Validation
The initial run of the SWAT model (version 99.2) was successfully
performed with recorded daily data on rainfall and temperature for
11 years (1991 to 2001). The model was then calibrated against
daily stream flow and sediment yield, measured at the outlet of
the watershed during the monsoon season (June to October) of
1996. The year 1996 was preferred for the model calibration for
the following three reasons: (1) availability of measured stream
flow and sediment data, (2) availability of remote sensing imagery
for the year to get the land use/land cover, and (3) the year was
observed as the “average rainfall year” (M-SD < RF < M þ SD
and RF ¼ M  20%M, where M = mean of total rainfall across
the years during monsoon months (June to October) and SD = Stan-
dard deviation. The input parameters of the model were extracted
from DEM analysis, satellite imagery, and field measurements. All
of the input parameter values were chosen within the model's pre-
scribed ranges for the parameters. The watershed and subwatershed
parameters selected for adjustment during the calibration along
with their prescribed range and optimum values are presented in
Tables 1 and 2, respectively. Subwatershed CN values have not
been assumed a “calibration parameter” as they were estimated spe-
cifically for the year from the land use/land cover image and were
considered estimated. A manual calibration procedure using the
trial and error process of parameter adjustment was used. After
each parameter adjustment, the simulated stream flow and sediment
Fig. 2. Subwatershed map of Banha watershed
yield were compared with their measured counterparts to judge im-
provements in model prediction. The Penman-Montheith method,
found to give the best performance in the subhumid region (Allen
et al. 1998; Kashyap and Panda 2001), was adopted for the
computation of ET in the present study.
The calibrated SWAT model was validated for the monsoon
months (June to September) of 2000 and 2001 (June to October)
using measured rainfall, temperature, and estimated CN values for
2000 We selected years 2000 and 2001 for validation because of the
availability of remote sensing imagery for the year 2000, which was
used to estimate the CN Moreover, the year 2001 was categorized

Table 1. Watershed Parameters for Model Calibration


Model prescribed
range
Optimum
Calibration parameters value Min. Max.
Baseflow factor 0.022 0.000 1.00
Initial soil water storage as a fraction of 0.735 0.000 1.00
field capacity
Coefficient in sediment routing equation 0.005 0.005 0.10
Power coefficient in sediment routing 1.000 0.750 2.00
equation
Peak rate adjustment factor for channel 1.000 0.000 1.00
routing
Fig. 3. Land use/land cover map of Banha watershed for the year 1996 Soil evaporation compensation factor 0.850 0.000 1.00

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Table 2. Subwatershed (SWS) Parameters for Model Calibration
Prescribed range Subwatersheds
Calibrated parameters Min. Max. SWS1 SWS2 SWS3 SWS4 SWS5
Runoff curve number 15 95 77.21 81.06 82.88 83.69 84.14
Manning’s ‘n’ for overland flow 0.01 0.70 0.134 0.063 0.072 0.074 0.072
Manning’s ‘n’ for the main channel 0.01 0.30 0.04 0.04 0.04 0.04 0.04
Manning’s ‘n’ for the tributary channel 0.0 0.30 0.072 0.075 0.066 0.062 0.054
Return flow travel time 0.0 180 30 30 30 30 40
Effective hydraulic conductivity in the main channel alluvium (mm=h) 0.0 150 8.15 6.4 5.8 5.896 5.455
Alfa factor for groundwater 0.0 1.0 0.016 0.082 0.07 0.07 0.06
Specific yield (m=m) 0.0 0.40 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2
Groundwater delay (days) 0.0 500 80 70 58 58 42
Deep aquifer percolation coefficient 0.0 1.0 0.12 0.15 0.1175 0.1115 0.20

as a “medium rainfall year” (RF > M-SD and RF < M  20%M). Another measure of the model's accuracy used in the study was
The measured daily stream flow and sediment yield for both years the root mean square error (RMSE), which is estimated as
were compared with their simulated counterparts to evaluate the vffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi
u N
model validation performance. u1 X
RMSE ¼ t ðO  Si Þ2
Evaluation Criteria N i¼1 i

The performance of the model for simulating hydrologic variables The over all percentage deviation (DV ) is viewed as prediction
was evaluated with the help of graphical comparisons and various performance and the level of acceptance, as suggested by the
statistical tests. Attention was given to the timing and magnitude of Bingner et al. (1989), but at the same time other statistical tests
peaks and recession curves. In statistical evaluation, the Student’s are also considered, along with a graphical comparison to test
t-test of significance (two-tailed), linear regression (coefficient of the model results. The threshold values for underprediction or over-
determination, R2 ), Nash and Sutcliffe coefficient of efficiency prediction were considered low, moderate, and severe, respectively,
(ENS ), root mean square error (RMSE), and percent deviation when Dv was ≤ 10%, 10 to 20%, and 20 to 30% of the mea-
(Dv ) tests were performed between daily measured values and sured values. Model simulation accuracy was considered and
model outputs. jDv j ≤ 20%, as acceptable.
The coefficient of determination (R2 ) describes the proportion
of the total variance in the measured data explained by the model. Simulations of NPS Pollutants
T ranges from 0.0 to 1.0, with higher values indicating better
agreement, and is given by In addition to stream flow and sediment yield, calibrated and
validated models for runoff and sediment yield are used to simulate
8 9 the stream flow associated nitrate-N (NO3 -N), ammonium-N
< PN =
i¼1 ðOi
O ÞðS  S Þ (NH4 -N), and water soluble phosphorous (P) concentrations mea-
R2 ¼ P 0:5 P 0:5
Avg i Avg
: ; sured on certain dates at the watershed outlet as NPS pollutants.
i¼1 ðOi  OAvg Þ i¼1 ðSi  SAvg Þ
N 2 N 2
The variable nature (intensity and distribution) of the monsoon
rains is expected to generate variable amounts of sediment yield
where Oi = ith observed parameter, OAvg = mean of the observed from the watershed and associated NPS pollutants to the down-
parameter, Si = ith simulated parameter, SAvg = mean of model stream water resources. However, because of the unavailability
simulated parameter, and N = total number of events. of measured NPS pollutants for the calibration year, only simula-
The basic goodness-of-fit criterion was the Nash-Sutcliffe tions were performed for these and compared with the measured
(1970) simulation efficiency (ENS ) or modeling efficiency, and quantities during validation years.
is given as
PN Results and Discussion
ðS  Oi Þ2
E NS ¼ 1  PN i¼1 i
i¼1 ðOi  OAvg Þ
2
Calibration and Validation of the SWAT Model
The E NS values vary from a negative value to 1, with 1 indicat- The time series of the measured and model simulated daily stream
ing a perfect fit and a negative value indicating that the prediction flow from the study watershed for the calibration period from June
of the model is worse than the average of the observed data. to October 1996 are compared graphically in Fig. 4(a). The figure
Dv is a measure of the accumulation of differences in observed shows that the simulated stream flow closely follows the trend of
and simulated values for the particular period of analysis, and is the measured stream flow. However, the magnitudes of the simu-
calculated as lated stream flow are higher than their measured counterparts
during high rainfall events. In the case of normal rainfall events,
PN the prediction matches the measured values. In the initial period
i¼1 ðOi  Si Þ
P
Dv ð%Þ ¼ × 100 of the monsoon season, low rainfall events generated less stream
i¼1 ðOi Þ
N
flow, whereas similar rainfall events during the middle of the mon-
soon season resulted in substantial stream flow. This occurrence
For a perfect model, Dv is equal to zero. may be the result of the initial dry soil condition and retention

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Rainfall Meas. stream flow Sim. stream flow 1:1 Line Regression line
75 0 75

60 20

Simulated runoff (mm)


60
(a) (b)

Rainfall (mm)
Runoff (mm)
45 40 45

30 60 30

15 80
15
y = 1.39x - 1.60
0 100 R2 = 0.93
0
un

un

ul

ul

15 l
ug

ug

29 p
ep

29 t
ct
u

c
e
-J

-J

-J

-O

-O
0 15 30 45 60 75
-J

-J

-A

-A

-S

-S
01

16

31
01

16

14
30

14
Measured runoff (mm)
Time (daily)

Fig. 4. Comparison of measured and SWAT simulated daily steam flow (a) and their scattergram comparison (b) for model calibration from June to
October, 1996

of the major portion of rainfall in rice fields, channels, small check Nevertheless, the overall prediction of the daily and cumulative
dams, and reservoirs. The scattergram between measured and simu- sediment yield during the calibration period shows close agreement
lated daily stream flow [Fig. 4(b)] shows that the simulated values with its measured counterpart. The scattergram between simulated
for less stream flow are slightly on the lower side of the 1∶1 line, and measured values in Fig. 5(b) shows that the simulated sediment
whereas, for high stream flow the simulated values are slightly on yields are distributed along the 1∶1 line for both low and high values
the higher side of the 1∶1 line indicating under and overprediction of the measured sediment. However, some of the values are on the
of stream flow, respectively, for small and high rainfall events. lower side of the 1∶1 line, indicating higher measured sediment than
However, the major portion of the scattergram is well-distributed the simulated values, particularly during the peaks.
along the 1∶1 line, which indicates the model capability of accu- The results of the statistical analyses performed to compare the
rately estimating stream flow for well-distributed normal rainfall simulated daily stream flow and sediment yield with their measured
events. These results also indicate that the calculated curve number counterparts are presented in Table 3. The Student’s t-test shows
values for each subwatershed are reasonably accurate on the basis that the means of measured and simulated stream flow and sedi-
of the AMC-II and land use/land cover image of the watershed. ment yield values are not significantly different at the 95% level
The daily measured and simulated values of sediment yield are of confidence, because t-calculated is less than t-critical. High val-
presented and compared graphically in Fig. 5(a). The figure shows ues of R2 and E NS indicate that the simulated daily stream flow and
that the trend of the predicted daily values matches well with the sediment yield are in close agreement with their measured counter-
trend of the measured sediment yield throughout the calibration parts. Low RMSE and DV values further indicate that the model
period. However, the model overestimates the daily sediment peaks predicts within the acceptable level of accuracy and thus captured
in the initial period and underestimates them in the later period of the characteristics of the watershed interactions with mon-
the monsoon season. A high intensity monsoon rain could generate soon rains.
more measured sediment yield compared with the simulated
Validation
counterpart, which is estimated on the basis of total quantity of
rainfall in a day. Because of this, some peaks of simulated sediment The validation results of daily stream flow are presented graphically
yield are not well matched with their measured counterparts. in Figs. 6(a) and 6(b), respectively, for 2000 and 2001. Fig. 6(a)

Measured sediment Simulated sediment 1:1 Line Regression line


1.5 2.5
Simulated sediment (t/ha)

1.2 2.0
(a) (b)
Sediment (t/ha)

0.9 1.5

0.6 1.0

0.3
0.5
y = 0.76x + 0.02
R2 = 0.82
0
0.0
un

un

ul

15 l
ul

30 g

14 g

29 p
ep

29 t
ct
u

c
u

e
u
-J

-J

-J

-O

-O

0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5


-J

-J

-A

-S
-A

-S
01

16

31
01

16

14

Measured sediment (t/ha)


Time (daily)

Fig. 5. Comparison of measured and SWAT simulated daily sediment yield (a) and their scattergram comparison (b) for model calibration from June
to October, 1996

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Table 3. Statistical Test Results of Measured and SWAT Simulated Daily simulated stream flow with the measured stream flow along the
Stream Flow and Sediment Yield (1996) 1∶1 line for 2000 and 2001. Fig. 7(a) shows that most of the com-
Statistical parameters Stream flow Sediment Yield pared points are evenly distributed around the 1∶1 line except a few
events of higher and lower magnitudes of stream flow. Fig. 7(b)
t-calculated 0.10 0.06 shows that the simulated stream flow is in good agreement with
t-critical (two-tail) 1.97 1.97 its measured counterpart, with some deviations for low magnitude
Coefficient of determination, R2 0.93 0.82 events. The figures also show that the magnitudes and variations
Nash-Sutcliffe simulation efficiency, ENS 0.70 0.82 of the daily stream flow are higher in 2000 than 2001 because
Root mean square error, RMSE 3.52 0.07 the best-fit line is closer to the 1∶1 line in 2001.
Deviation, Dv (%) 2.54 1.52 The time series of simulated and measured daily sediment yields
are compared graphically in Figs. 8(a) and 8(b), respectively for the
year 2000 and 2001. The figures show that the trend of simulated
daily sediment closely follows the measured sediment yield in both
shows that the trends of simulated and measured daily stream flow years. High rainfall during the end of August and the beginning of
are in good agreement in all four months of the monsoon season of September resulted in overprediction of sediment yield in early
2000, even though the year was drier than the calibration year, September, 2001. However, the matching of simulated and mea-
1996. Although the simulated peaks are to some degree deviated sured daily sediment yield for the months of June, July, August,
from the measured peaks of daily stream flow, the overall agree- and September 2001 is quite good. The scattergram between the
ment is quite good. Fig. 6(b) shows that the distribution of measured and simulated daily sediment yield along with the 1∶1
measured and simulated daily stream flows compares reasonably line and best-fit line [Figs. 9(a) and 9(b)] show an even distribution
and is uniform throughout the 2001 season, except for a few peaks of simulated values about the 1∶1 line for both lower and higher
during the initial period in which stream flow is overpredicted. This measured values in both years. The estimated best-fit lines for
difference may be the result of the differences in real world and the measured and simulated values also closely match the 1∶1 line
the model-presented status of initial soil and water conditions. in both years. The best-fit line is slightly on the upper side of the 1∶1
Figs. 7(a) and 7(b) represent the scattergrams comparing the line, indicating marginal overprediction by the model.

Rainfall Meas. stream flow Sim. stream flow Rainfall Meas. stream flow Sim. stream flow
100 0 50 0

80 20 40 20
Rainfall (mm)

Rainfall (mm)
Runoff (mm)

(a) (b)
Runoff (mm)

60 40 30 40

40 60 20 60

20 80 10 80

0 100 0 100
16 n
un

16 l

31 l
15 ul

30 g
ug

29 p

14 p

29 t
ct

16 n
un

16 l

31 l
15 ul

29 p
30 g

14 g

14 p

29 t
ct
u

c
u

e
u

e
u
-J

-J

-J

-O

-O

-J

-J

-J

-O

-O
-J

-J

-A

-A

-S

-S

-J

-J

-A

-A

-S

-S
01

01
01

14

01

Time (daily) Time (daily)

Fig. 6. Measured and SWAT simulated daily steam flow hydrograph used for model validation from June to September, 2000 and June to October,
2001

1:1 Line Regression line 1:1 Line Regression line


60 50

50 40
Simulated runoff (mm)
Simulated runoff (mm)

(a) (b)
40
30

30
20
20

10
10 y = 1.16x - 0.47 y = 1.08x - 0.46
R2 = 0.83 R2 = 0.76
0 0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 0 10 20 30 40 50
Measured runoff (mm) Measured runoff (mm)

Fig. 7. Scattergram comparison between measured and SWAT simulated daily steam flow for model validation from June to September, 2000 and
June to October, 2001

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Measured sediment Simulated sediment Measured sediment Simulated sediment
1.5 0.6

0.5
1.2
(a) (b)

Sediment (t/ha)

Sediment (t/ha)
0.4
0.9
0.3
0.6
0.2

0.3
0.1

0 0.0
16 n
un

16 l

31 l
15 ul

14 p
29 p
30 g

29 t
ct
14 g

un

un

29 p
ep
15 l

29 t
ug

14 g

ct
u

c
u

e
u

e
u

e
u
-J

-J

-J

-O

-O

-O
-J

-J

-J

-O
-J

-J

-S
-A

-S
-A

-J

-J

-S

-S
-A

-A
01

01

16

31
01

01

16

14
30
Time (daily) Time (daily)

Fig. 8. Measured and SWAT simulated daily sediment yield used for model validation from June to September, 2000 and June to October, 2001

1:1 Line Regression line 1:1 Line Regression line


1.5 0.75

Simulated sediment (t/ha)


Simulated sediment (t/ha)

1.2 0.60
(a) (b)

0.9 0.45

0.6 0.30

0.3 0.15
y = 1.05x + 8E-04 y = 1.03x + 4E-03
R2 = 0.80 R2 = 0.77
0.0 0.00
0.0 0.3 0.6 0.9 1.2 1.5 0.00 0.15 0.30 0.45 0.60 0.75
Measured sediment (t/ha) Measured sediment (t/ha)

Fig. 9. Scattergram comparison between measured and SWAT simulated daily sediment yield for model validation from June to September, 2000 and
June to October, 2001

yield for the years 2000 and 2001. The above results indicate suc-
Table 4. Statistical Test Results of Measured and SWAT Simulated Daily
cessful validation of the model for the study watershed in predict-
Stream Flow and Sediment Yield during 2000 and 2001
ing stream flow during the monsoon seasons of 2000 and 2001.
Stream flow Sediment Yield The results for the calibration and validation of the model are
Statistical parameters 2000 2001 2000 2001 within the acceptable limits discussed in the evaluation criteria;
thus, the SWAT (Version 99.2) model can be successfully used
t-calculated 0.09 0.58 0:15 0:54 as a tool to study the watershed responses for different management
t-critical (two tail) 1.97 1.97 1.97 1.97 options of soil and water conservation and identification of best
Coefficient of determination, R2 0.83 0.76 0.80 0.77 management practices for further simulation of the hydrological
Nash-Sutcliffe simulation efficiency, ENS 0.70 0.62 0.73 0.69 processes of the study watershed.
Root mean square error, RMSE 3.45 2.24 0.07 0.04
Deviation, Dv (%) 3.58 11.73 6:65 15:35 Simulation of NPS pollutants
Because NPS pollution is a hydrology-driven pollutant transport
process, a calibrated and validated SWAT model for runoff and
The statistical tests performed on the model validation results of sediment yield was used to simulate nutrient losses from the water-
stream flow and sediment yields (Table 4) show that the differences shed. The model results were compared with the measured concen-
between the mean values of measured and simulated stream flow trations of NO3 -N, NH4 -N, and water soluble-P at the watershed
and sediment yields are not significant at the 95% level of confi- outlet on different dates during 2000 and 2001. No measured data
dence because the t-calculated is less than the t-critical. The values for these nutrients were available for 1996; therefore, calibration
of R2 , ENS , RMSE, and Dv indicate that the model simulates stream of the model for NPS pollution was not performed along with
flow and sediment yield well within the acceptable level of accu- the runoff and sediment yield calibrations.
racy even for the relatively drier year compared with the calibration The simulation results [Figs. 10(a) and 10(b)] indicate that the
year (1996). However, the percentage deviations show that model NO3 -theN concentration in the stream flow is, in general, reason-
underpredicted the stream flow and overpredicted the sediment ably predicted by SWAT for all events except one initial event in

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Table 5. Statistical Test Results of Measured and SWAT Simulated efficiencies with 0.50 and 0:24 mg=l root mean square errors,
NO3 -N, NH4 -N and Soluble-P Concentrations in 2000 and 2001 Stream respectively, in 2000 and 2001. The percent deviations indicate
Flow low to moderate underpredictions of the NO3 -N concentration
Statistical
2000 2001 and are within the acceptable level of accuracy.
parameters NO3 -N NH4 -N Soluble-P NO3 -N NH4 -N Soluble-P The comparison between the measured and simulated concen-
trations of NH4 -N is shown in Figs. 10(c) and 10(d), respectively,
t-calculated 0:29 0:20 0:25 0:15 0:52 0:61 for 2000 and 2001 and respective scattergrams in Figs. 11(c) and
t-critical 2.06 2.06 2.06 2.06 2.06 2.08 11(d). The figures reveal that the concentrations of NH4 -N are mar-
(two tail) ginally underpredicted. However, the statistical test results indicate
R2 0.99 0.99 0.98 0.99 0.72 0.90 that the measured and simulated values of mean NH4 -N are in close
E NS 0.94 0.98 0.95 0.99 0.86 0.83 agreement at the 95% confidence level because t-calculated is less
RMSE (mg=l) 0.50 0.0005 0.0007 0.24 0.002 0.001 than t-critical. The coefficients of determination and the Nash-
Dv (%) 18.14 14.79 17.60 7.97 29.49 33.48 Sutcliffe simulation efficiencies also point to the close agreement
between the measured and simulated values of NH4 -N with root
mean square errors of 0.0005 and 0:002 mg=l, respectively, for
2000 and 2001. The values of the percent deviation of 14.79
2000 (June 11). This difference during the initial event may be the and 29.49 for 2000 and 2001, respectively, indicate that the model
result of more seepage mixing of NO3 -N and higher concentration underpredicted NH4 -N in both years and beyond the level of accep-
in the sample collected near the channel sides, whereas the model tance in 2001. However, a comparison of other statistical tests re-
considers a uniform concentration in the entire stream flow. The sults indicate that the model has some degree of predictability and,
statistical test results of the measured and simulated NO3 -N hence, may be used for further analysis of watershed behavior.
(Table 5) reveal a close agreement at the 95% level of confidence The comparisons between the measured and simulated values of
as t-calculated is less than t-critical. A close agreement between water soluble-P concentration for the selected dates of 2000 and
the measured and the simulated NO3 -N was also indicated by the 2001 are presented in Figs. 10(e) and 10(f), and their scattergram
high coefficients of determination and Nash-Sutcliffe simulation comparison in Figs. 11(e) and 11(f). The figures reveal that the

15.00 15.00

12.00 12.00
NO3-N conc. (mg/l)

NO3-N conc. (mg/l)

9.00 9.00
(b)
(a)
6.00 6.00

3.00 3.00

0.00 0.00
0.030 0.030

0.024 0.024
NH4-N conc. (mg/l)

NH4-N conc. (mg/l)

0.018 (c) 0.018


(d)
0.012 0.012

0.006 0.006

0.000 0.000
0.015 0.015
Soluble P conc. (mg/l)
Soluble P conc. (mg/l)

0.012 0.012

0.009 (e) 0.009 (f)

0.006 0.006

0.003 0.003

0.000 0.000
un

un

ul

ul

15 l

ul

ul

15 l
un

un
ep

ep
ug

14 g

29 p

30 g

14 g

29 p
29 t
ct

29 t
ct
u

u
c

c
u

e
-J

-J

-J

-J

-J

-J
-O

-O

-O

-O
-J

-J

-J

-J
-A

-A

-S

-S

-A

-A

-S

-S
01

16

31

01

16

31
01

16
01

16

14

14
30

Time (daily) Time (daily)


Simulated concentration Measured concentration

Fig. 10. Measured and SWAT simulated concentrations of NPS- NO3 -N (A and B), NH4 -N (C and D), and soluble-P (E and F) at the watershed outlet,
respectively, in 2000 and 2001

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Simulated NO 3-N conc.
Simulated NO 3-N conc.
1:1 Line Regression line 1:1 Line Regression line
10 10
8 (a) 8 (b)
6 6
4 4
2 y = 0.8019x + 0.0202 2 y = 0.9735x - 0.1147
0 R2 = 0.99 0 R2 = 0.99
0 2 4 6 8 10 0 2 4 6 8 10
Measured NO3-N conc. Measured NO3-N conc.
Simulated NH4-N conc.

1:1 Line Regression line

Simulated NH4-N conc.


1:1 Line Regression line
0.025 0.025
0.020 (c) 0.020
(d)
0.015 0.015
0.010 0.010
0.005 y = 0.8969x - 9E-05 0.005 y = 1.0544x - 0.0004
0.000 R2 = 0.99 R2 = 0.72
0.000
0.000 0.005 0.010 0.015 0.020 0.025 0.000 0.005 0.010 0.015 0.020 0.025
Measured NH4 -N conc. Measured NH4 -N conc.

1:1 Line Regression line 1:1 Line Regression line

Simulated sol. P conc.


Simulated sol. P conc.

0.020 0.010
0.016 0.008
(e) (f)
0.012 0.006
0.008 0.004
0.004 y = 0.704x + 8E-05 0.002 y = 0.7536x - 0.0001
R2 = 0.98 0.000 R2 = 0.90
0.000
0.000 0.004 0.008 0.012 0.016 0.020 0.000 0.002 0.004 0.006 0.008 0.010
Measured soluble P conc. Measured soluble P conc.

Fig. 11. Scattergram comparison between measured and SWAT simulated concentrations of NPS- NO3 -N (A and B), NH4 -N (C and D), and
Soluble-P (E and F) at the watershed outlet, respectively, in 2000 and 2001

soluble-P is underpredicted by the model at least for the observa- of 0.83 and 0.80 for stream flow and sediment yield, respectively,
tion dates. However, the results of the statistical tests performed on and 0.99, 0.99, and 0.98 for nitrate-N, ammonia-N, and water solu-
the measured and simulated soluble-P show that the values are not ble phosphorus, respectively. Considering the deviations from mea-
significantly different at the 95% confidence level. The coefficient sured counterparts, the model predicted stream flow and sediment
of determination and Nash-Sutcliffe simulation efficiencies indicate yield within the acceptable level of accuracy (maximum deviation
a close agreement between the measured and simulated values with of 11.73% for runoff and 15.35% for sediment yield) whereas in the
0.0007 and 0:001 mg=l of root mean square errors, respectively, for case of NPS pollutants, model estimated ammonia-N, and soluble-
2000 and 2001. The overall deviation values indicate that soluble-P
P beyond the acceptable level of accuracy (29.49% and 33.48%,
concentration is underpredicted by 17.60% in 2000 and 33.48% in
respectively, for NH4-N and soluble-P) in year 2001 with relatively
2001, which was higher than our level of acceptance. Nevertheless,
the overall statistical comparisons and at least one-year perfor- medium rainfall. In fact, in most of the watersheds agro-chemical
mance within level of acceptance supports the model utility in sim- losses are not monitored, whereas their application grows day by
ulating water soluble-P. day to increase agricultural production. The present study at-
The results of NPS pollutants (NO3 -N, NH4 -N and soluble-P) tempted to show that because hydrology is the most important
reveal a considerable agreement between the measured and SWAT driver behind these losses, a well calibrated model for watershed
simulated concentrations of the pollutants that are lost to down- hydrologic process can simulate NPS pollution loadings from
stream. The results also show a need for further testing of the model watershed. However, to improve the accuracy of such simulations,
using more observations. The study concludes as follows. more process-oriented model validation is needed. Overall, param-
eterization of a hydrologic model for individual watershed under
different climatic and land cover conditions is useful to understand-
Conclusions ing the hydrologic and associated processes of watersheds.
The results reveal that the SWAT model can be successfully uti-
The SWAT model was used to simulate the stream flow, sediment
lized in characterizing the stream flow, sediment yield, and asso-
yield, and NPS pollutants (nitrate-N, ammonical-N, and soluble-P)
ciated NPS pollution of water in subhumid, subtropical regions,
from a small, multi-vegetated watershed situated in the subhumid,
subtropical climate in India. With decided objectives and data avail- receiving monsoon rains; thus, it can serve as a decision manage-
ability limitations, seasonal rainfall variation was observed during ment tool in solving water quantity and quality problems. The
the calibration and validation period, and the model was calibrated results can be used as a decision support tool by stakeholders
for a normal rainfall year and validated for a drier and a medium for designing an appropriate management strategy to control runoff
rainfall year. The model validation results show that the simulated and sediment from the area and water and fertilizer management
daily stream flow, sediment yield, and NPS pollutants compared in agricultural fields to minimize the NPS pollution losses with
closely with their measured counterpart with a maximum R2 values improved nutrient use efficiency of rainfed crops.

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