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Summary Report No. 69

SWIM (Soil and Water Integrated Model), User Manual
V. Krysanova, F. Wechsung, J. Arnold, R. Srinivasan, J. Williams (December 2000)


Development of integrated tools for hydrological/vegetation/water quality modelling at the river basin scale is motivated by water resources management in densely populated agricultural areas (water pollution problem), arid and semi-arid regions (water scarcity), and mountainous and loess regions (erosion problem). The other motivation is an ongoing climate change and land use/land cover change. Development of water resources in the conditions of global change requires an understanding and adequate representation in models of basic hydrologic and related processes at mesoscale and large scale, i. e. in river basins of hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of square kilometers.

The model SWIM (Soil and Water Integrated Model) was developed in order to provide a comprehensive GIS-based tool for hydrological and water quality modelling in mesoscale and large river basins (from 100 to 10,000 kM²), which can be parameterised using regionally available information. The model was developed for the use mainly in Europe and temperate zone, though its application in other regions is possible as well. SWIM is based on two previously developed tools - SWAT and MATSALU.

The model integrates hydrology, vegetation, erosion, and nutrient dynamics at the watershed scale. SWIM has a three-level disaggregation scheme 'basin - sub-basins - hydrotopes' and is coupled to the Geographic Information System GRASS (GRASS, 1993). A robust approach is suggested for the nitrogen and phosphorus modelling in mesoscale watersheds. SWIM runs under the UNIX environment.

Model test and validation were performed sequentially for hydrology, crop growth, nitrogen and erosion in a number of mesoscale watersheds in the German part of the Elbe drainage basin. A comprehensive scheme of spatial disaggregation into sub-basins and hydrotopes combined with reasonable restriction on a sub-basin area allows performing the assessment of water resources and water quality with SWIM in mesoscale river basins. The modest data requirements represent an important advantage of the model. Direct connection to land use and climate data provides a possibility to use the model for analysis of climate change and land use change impacts on hydrology, agricultural production, and water quality.

However, the model is quite complicated, and it cannot be used as a black box. Understanding of the model code is a prerequisite for successful applications.


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