Applicability of water quality models around the world—a review

  • Cássia Monteiro da Silva Burigato Costa
  • Leidiane da Silva Marques
  • Aleska Kaufmann Almeida
  • Izabel Rodrigues Leite
  • Isabel Kaufmann de AlmeidaEmail author
Review Article


Water quality models are important tools used in the management of water resources. The models are usually developed for specific regions, with particular climates and physical characteristics. Thus, applying these models in regions other than those they were designed for can generate large simulation errors. With consideration to these discrepancies, the goal of this study is to identify the models employed in different countries and assist researchers in the selection of the most appropriate models for management purposes. Published studies from the last 21 years (1997–2017) that discuss the application of water quality models were selected from three engineering databases: SpringerLink, Web of Science, and Scopus. Seven models for water quality simulations have been widely applied around the world: AQUATOX, CE-QUAL-W2, EFDC, QUALs, SWAT, SPARROW, and WASP. The countries most frequently applying water quality models are the USA, followed by China, and South Korea. SWAT was the most used model, followed by the QUAL group and CE-QUAL-W2. This study provides the opportunity for researchers, who wish to study countries with fewer cases of applied water quality models, to easily identify the work from that region. Furthermore, this work collated central themes of interest and the most simulated parameters for the seven countries that most frequently employed the water quality models.


Engineering database AQUATOX CE-QUAL-W2 SWAT QUALs water resources 



The authors are grateful to the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior—CAPES, to the Programa de Apoio à Pós-graduação—PROAP and to the Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul—UFMS for their support in the development of this work.

Supplementary material

11356_2019_6637_MOESM1_ESM.docx (135 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 135 kb)
11356_2019_6637_MOESM2_ESM.docx (69 kb)
ESM 2 (DOCX 68 kb)


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Urbanism and GeographyFederal University of Mato Grosso do SulCampo GrandeBrazil

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