The impacts of land cover in critical water resources in the Motueka River catchment was modelled using SWAT as part of an Integrated Catchment Management (ICM) project.

See this link for a poster paper: http://icm.landcareresearch.co.nz/knowledgebase/publications/public/wenzhi_land_cover.pdf

In this study we adopted a multi-variable and multi-site approach to calibration and validation of the Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model for the Motueka catchment, making use of extensive field measurements. Not only were a number of hydrological processes (model components) in a catchment evaluated, but also a number of subcatchments were used in the calibration. The internal variables used were PET, annual water yield, daily streamflow, baseflow, and soil moisture. The study was conducted using an 11-year historical flow record (1990–2000); 1990–94 was used for calibration and 1995–2000 for validation.

SWAT generally predicted well the PET, water yield and daily streamflow. The predicted daily streamflow matched the observed values, with a Nash–Sutcliffe coefficient of 0·78 during calibration and 0·72 during validation. However, values for subcatchments ranged from 0·31 to 0·67 during calibration, and 0·36 to 0·52 during validation. The predicted soil moisture remained wet compared with the measurement. About 50% of the extra soil water storage predicted by the model can be ascribed to overprediction of precipitation; the remaining 50% discrepancy was likely to be a result of poor representation of soil properties.

Hydrological compensations in the modelling results are derived from water balances in the various pathways and storage (evaporation, streamflow, surface runoff, soil moisture and groundwater) and the contributions to streamflow from different geographic areas (hill slopes, variable source areas, sub-basins, and subcatchments). The use of an integrated multi-variable and multi-site method improved the model calibration and validation and highlighted the areas and hydrological processes requiring greater calibration effort.

Associated Models

References

Cao, W.Z.; Davie, T.; Fenemor, A.; Bowden, W.B. (2007). Reply to comment on Cao W, Bowden BW, Davie T, Fenemor A. 2006. 'Multi-variable and multi-site calibration and validation of SWAT in a large mountainous catchment with high spatial variability.' Hydrological Processes 20(5): 1057-1073. Hydrological Processes 21(23): 3229-3230.