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Coupling upland watershed and downstream waterbody hydrodynamic and water quality models (SWAT and CE-QUAL-W2) for better water resources management in complex river basins


Effective water resources management programs have always incorporated detailed analyses of hydrological and water quality processes in the upland watershed and downstream waterbody. We have integrated two powerful hydrological and water quality models (SWAT and CE-QUAL-W2) to simulate the combined processes of water quantity and quality both in the upland watershed and downstream waterbody. Whereas the SWAT model outputs water quality variables in its entirety, the CE-QUAL-W2 model requires inputs in various pools of organic matter contents. An intermediate program was developed to extract outputs from SWAT at required subbasin and reach outlets and converts them into acceptable CE-QUAL-W2 inputs. The CE-QUAL-W2 model was later calibrated for various hydrodynamic and water quality simulations in the Cedar Creek Reservoir, TX, USA. The results indicate that the two models are compatible and can be used to assess and manage water resources in complex watersheds comprised of upland watershed and downstream waterbodies.

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This material is based upon work supported by the US Environmental Protection Agency under Agreement No. X7-9764801-0. We would like to thank Mr. Tom Cole (US Army Corps of Engineers Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, MS), and Ms. Jennifer Owens and Mr. Mark Ernst (TRWD, Fort Worth, Texas) for better insights into the CE-QUAL-W2 model and providing the bathymetry and water quality data for Cedar Creek Reservoir, respectively. Comments provided by Mr. Ernst and two other anonymous reviewers greatly improved the quality of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to B. Debele.

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Debele, B., Srinivasan, R. & Parlange, JY. Coupling upland watershed and downstream waterbody hydrodynamic and water quality models (SWAT and CE-QUAL-W2) for better water resources management in complex river basins. Environ Model Assess 13, 135–153 (2008).

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  • CE-QUAL-W2
  • hydrodynamic model
  • model integration
  • waterbody
  • water quality model