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Open AccessArticle

Regionalization of SWAT Model Parameters for Use in Ungauged Watersheds

1
Biological and Agricultural Systems Engineering, Florida A&M University, 307 N Perry Paige Bld., Tallahassee, FL 32307, USA
2
Departments of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, and Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Purdue University, 225 South University Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2010, 2(4), 849-871; https://doi.org/10.3390/w2040849
Received: 6 October 2010 / Revised: 4 November 2010 / Accepted: 10 November 2010 / Published: 12 November 2010
There has been a steady shift towards modeling and model-based approaches as primary methods of assessing watershed response to hydrologic inputs and land management, and of quantifying watershed-wide best management practice (BMP) effectiveness. Watershed models often require some degree of calibration and validation to achieve adequate watershed and therefore BMP representation. This is, however, only possible for gauged watersheds. There are many watersheds for which there are very little or no monitoring data available, thus the question as to whether it would be possible to extend and/or generalize model parameters obtained through calibration of gauged watersheds to ungauged watersheds within the same region. This study explored the possibility of developing regionalized model parameter sets for use in ungauged watersheds. The study evaluated two regionalization methods: global averaging, and regression-based parameters, on the SWAT model using data from priority watersheds in Arkansas. Resulting parameters were tested and model performance determined on three gauged watersheds. Nash-Sutcliffe efficiencies (NS) for stream flow obtained using regression-based parameters (0.53–0.83) compared well with corresponding values obtained through model calibration (0.45–0.90). Model performance obtained using global averaged parameter values was also generally acceptable (0.4 ≤ NS ≤ 0.75). Results from this study indicate that regionalized parameter sets for the SWAT model can be obtained and used for making satisfactory hydrologic response predictions in ungauged watersheds. View Full-Text
Keywords: modeling; ungauged watersheds; SWAT; hydrologic calibration modeling; ungauged watersheds; SWAT; hydrologic calibration
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Gitau, M.W.; Chaubey, I. Regionalization of SWAT Model Parameters for Use in Ungauged Watersheds. Water 2010, 2, 849-871.

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