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

Citation:  Transactions of the ASABE. 49(2): 413-422. (doi: 10.13031/2013.20415) @2006
Authors:   C. H. Green, M. D. Tomer, M. Di Luzio, J. G. Arnold
Keywords:   AVSWAT-X, CEAP, Hydrologic modeling, SWAT, Tile drains, Watershed

The presence of subsurface tile drainage systems can facilitate nutrient and pesticide transport, thereby contributing to environmental pollution. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) water quality model is designed to assess nonpoint and point source pollution and was recently modified for tile drainage. Over 25% of the nations cropland required improved drainage. In this study, the models ability to validate the tile drainage component is evaluated with nine years of hydrologic monitoring data collected from the South Fork watershed in Iowa, since about 80% of this watershed is tile drained. This watershed is a Conservation Effects Assessment Program benchmark watershed and typifies one of the more intensively managed agricultural areas in the Midwest. Comparison of measured and predicted values demonstrated that inclusion of the tile drainage system is imperative for obtaining a realistic watershed water balance. Two calibration/validation scenarios tested if the results differed in how the data set was divided. The optimum scenario results for the simulated monthly and daily flows had Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency (ENS) values during the calibration/validation (1995-1998/1999-2004) periods of 0.9/0.7 and 0.5/0.4, respectively. The second scenario results for the simulated monthly and daily flows had ENS values during the calibration/validation (1995-2000/2001-2004) periods of 0.8/0.5 and 0.7/0.2, respectively. The optimum scenario reflects the distribution of peak rainfall events represented in both the calibration and validation periods. The year 2000, being extremely dry, negatively impacted both the calibration and validation results. Each water budget component of the model gave reasonable output, which reveals that this model can be used for the assessment of tile drainage with its associated practices. Water yield results were significantly different for the simulations with and without the tile flow component (25.1% and 16.9%, expressed as a percent of precipitation). The results suggest that the SWAT2005 version modified for tile drainage is a promising tool to evaluate streamflow in tile-drained regions when the calibration period contains streamflows representing a wide range of rainfall events.

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