|Purpose:||Model hydrologic processes and land use impacts|
|Developer:||USDA, Texas A&M University|
|Key Features:||Model land use change over time; ArcGIS interface; model large basins|
|Latest Release:||2015, Version 5.1.007|
|Cost:||Free: Requires ArcGIS and Spatial Analyst Free GIS: QGIS, Mapwindows|
|Related Software:||HEC-HMS, eWater Source, SOBEK|
The SWAT (Soil Water Assessment Tool) model, first released in the 1990’s, is a small watershed to river basin-scale model that simulates the quality and quantity of surface and groundwater and predicts the environmental impacts of land use, land management practices, and climate change. The water balance, or the flow of water in and out of a hydrologic system, informs all processes in the SWAT model because of its impact on plant growth, sediment, nutrients, pesticides and pathogens. In order to model hydrologic processes, the SWAT model first divides basin of interest into sub-basins, and then further into hydrologic response units (HRUs) based on land use, management and soils. SWAT estimates runoff for each HRU separately, and then the total runoff for the entire basin. The SWAT model is widely used for hydrologic studies, climate change studies, and water quality studies including nutrient loading, total daily maximum loads, pesticides and bacteria. Key features of the SWAT model include its ability to perform on multiple GIS platforms, including ArcGIS, Mapwindows (MWSWAT), or QGIS (QSWAT). SWAT can also be integrated with the groundwater modeling software MODFLOW.
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