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SWMS-3D Model
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The program, examples, and manual
can be downloaded from the
software download area.

Year: 1994
Version: 1.21


SWMS_3D is a computer program for simulating water and solute movement in three-dimensional variably saturated media. The program numerically solves the Richards' equation for saturated-unsaturated water flow and the convection-dispersion equation for solute transport. The flow equation incorporates a sink term to account for water uptake by plant roots. The transport equation includes provisions for linear equilibrium adsorption, zero-order production, and first-order degradation. The program may be used to analyze water and solute movement in unsaturated, partially saturated, or fully saturated porous media. SWMS_3D can handle flow regions delineated by irregular boundaries. The flow region itself may be composed of nonuniform soils having an arbitrary degree of local anisotropy. The water flow part of the model can deal with prescribed head and flux boundaries, as well as boundaries controlled by atmospheric conditions. The governing flow and transport equations are solved numerically using Galerkin-type linear finite element schemes. Depending upon the size of the problem, the matrix equations resulting from discretization of the governing equations are solved using either Gaussian elimination for banded matrices, or a conjugate gradient method for symmetric matrices and the ORTHOMIN method for asymmetric matrices. The program is written in ANSI standard FORTRAN 77. Computer memory is a function of the problem definition, mainly the total number of nodes and elements.

The program comes with a user manual giving detailed instructions for data input preparation. Example input and selected output files are also provided.


J. Simunek, K. Huang, and M. Th. van Genuchten. 1995. The SWMS_3D Code for Simulating Water Flow and Solute Transport in Three-Dimensional Variably-Saturated Media, Version 1.0. Research Report No. 139, U.S. Salinity Laboratory, USDA-ARS, Riverside, California.

Technical contact:

Todd Skaggs
USDA-ARS U.S. Salinity Laboratory
450 W Big Springs Road
Riverside, CA 92507-4617

Tel: 951-369-4853
Fax: 951-342-4964