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Applications of the SWAT Model for Coastal Watersheds: Review and Recommendations  Open Access

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Journal of the ASABE. 65(2): 453-469. (doi: 10.13031/ja.14848) @2022
Authors:   Pawan Upadhyay, Anna Linhoss, Chris Kelble, Steve Ashby, Naja Murphy, Prem B. Parajuli
Keywords:   Bay, Coast, Estuary, Gulf, Hydrologic model, Soil and Water Assessment Tool, Water quality model, Watershed model.


A systematic review was performed of SWAT applications in coastal watersheds.

Three percent of SWAT applications have occurred in coastal watersheds.

SWAT performed better at a monthly time step versus a daily time step.

Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency (NSE) was the most common metric used for evaluating simulations.

More research should be conducted on coupling SWAT with hydrodynamic models in tidal systems.

Abstract. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) is a watershed to river basin scale model widely used to simulate the quality and quantity of surface water and groundwater. SWAT has been applied in a wide variety of geographical landscapes around the world. This review presents a comprehensive summary of SWAT applications for coastal watersheds. Thirty-four articles were identified as coastal applications of SWAT, which account for 3% of the total published studies using SWAT. Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency (NSE) was the most common metric used to evaluate SWAT simulations. The SWAT model calibration and validation studies in coastal watersheds reported higher NSE values for monthly flow simulation (NSE up to 0.95) than for daily flow simulation (NSE up to 0.89). Among all the studies, 34% of the reported NSE values (flow and water quality combined) were >0.75. The majority (58%) of flow values were reported daily, while the majority (81%) of water quality values were reported monthly. Only two studies combined SWAT with a hydrodynamic model to account for tide-storm surge processes. SWAT may be applied more readily and successfully to coastal watersheds if a user-friendly method is developed for coupling SWAT with hydrodynamic models to simulate the tidal influence.

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