Forested catchments in southeast Australia play an important role in supplying water to major cities. Over the past decades, vegetation cover in this area has been affected by major bushfires that in return influence water yield. This study tests methods for forecasting water yield after bushfire, in a forested catchment in southeast Australia. Precipitation and remotely sensed Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) were selected as the main predictor variables. Cross-correlation results show that water yield with time lag equal to 1 can be used as an additional predictor variable. Input variables and water yield observations were set based on 16-day time series, from 20 January 2003 to 20 January 2012. Four data-driven models namely Non-Linear Multivariate Regression (NLMR), K-Nearest Neighbor (KNN), non-linear Autoregressive with External Input based Artificial Neural Networks (NARX-ANN), and Symbolic Regression (SR) were employed for this study. Results showed that NARX-ANN outperforms other models across all goodness-of-fit criteria. The Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency (NSE) of 0.90 and correlation coefficient of 0.96 at the training-validation stage, as well as NSE of 0.89 and correlation coefficient of 0.95 at the testing stage, are indicative of potentials of this model for capturing ecological dynamics in predicting catchment hydrology, at an operational level.
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