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Analysis of Hydrological Processes Applying the HSPF Model in Selected Watersheds in Alabama, Mississippi, and Puerto Rico

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

Citation:  Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 27(6): 937-954. (doi: 10.13031/2013.40627) @2011
Authors:   J. N. Diaz-Ramirez, W. H. McAnally, J. L. Martin
Keywords:   HSPF, Lumped hydrologic modeling, Mississippi, Alabama, Puerto Rico, Tropical and subtropical hydrological processes

The goal of this study was to evaluate the Hydrological Simulation Program FORTRAN (HSPF) to gain more insight in the underlying causes and mechanisms of hydrological processes in an upland basin in Alabama and Mississippi (1,856-km2 Luxapallila Creek), a humid subtropical watershed in coastal Alabama (140-km2 Fish River), and a steep-slope tropical catchment in Puerto Rico (99-km2 Rio Caonillas). For each watershed model, rainfall, potential evapotranspiration, and streamflow time series from January 1999 to December 2000 were used to calibrate model parameters and 2001 time series were applied to verify model results. In each study area, actual evapotranspiration was the main mechanism of water loss followed by river discharge. Annual baseflow values ranged from 58% of total discharge in Luxapallila Creek basin to 84% of total discharge in Fish River watershed. In Luxapallila Creek and Fish River, interflow was the primary mechanism of direct runoff; however, surface runoff was the main process of direct runoff in Rio Caonillas. The HSPF model was successfully adapted to model daily streamflow processes in Luxapallila Creek basin and Rio Caonillas catchment with coefficient of determination and Nash and Sutcliffe coefficient values between 0.61 and 0.71 for the entire period; however, the Fish River watershed model performance was poor. The poor performance is likely due to the lack of rainfall time series available within the watershed boundaries. In general, this study showed the robustness of the HSPF model in extreme environments (small catchments vs. large basins, flat vs. hilly areas, low vs. moderate/high runoff potential, tropical marine vs. humid subtropical climates).

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