SPARROW is a modeling tool for the regional interpretation of water-quality monitoring data. The model relates in-stream water-quality measurements to spatially referenced characteristics of watersheds, including contaminant sources and factors influencing terrestrial and aquatic transport. SPARROW empirically estimates the origin and fate of contaminants in river networks and quantifies uncertainties in model predictions.


SPARROW assists in the prediction of mean annual contaminant loads in streams.

Latest Version 2.9
State of Development Stable Release
Current Development Activity Still active development. Mostly going into US national and regional applications.

Development Contact

Sandy Elliott
+64 7 8591839
National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research


Intended End Users Direct users are specialist catchment modellers, but intended broader use is for water management.
Spatial Dimensions Unknown
Temporal Resolutions Not applicable
Temporal Extents Not applicable
Steady State or Dynamic Steady State

Input & Output Data


Open/Closed Source Unknown
Licence Type Free

User Information

Operating Systems MS Windows, Linux
Software Needed Unknown
User Interface Please Select
Ease of Use Moderate

Detailed description of underlying theory is available. No code documentation.

Support No formal support, although the authors are willing to assist.
Users Forum Not available.

Technical Considerations

Programming Language SAS (statistical software system) macro language, including IML language within SAS. Also uses some dll's originating in Fortran.
Methods included for calibration and validation Constrained non-linear least squares
Analytical Techniques Input/output

The prediction component of NZ Sparrow applications have been re-coded in VB and Fortran and incorporated into CLUES.

Sparrow home page - 

CLUES home page -

Associated Case Studies