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Research Project: Towards Resilient Agricultural Systems to Enhance Water Availability, Quality, and Other Ecosystem Services under Changing Climate and Land Use

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Title: SWAT-LUT: A desktop graphical user interface for updating land use in SWAT

item Moriasi, Daniel
item PAI, NARESH - Bayer Cropscience
item Steiner, Jean
item Gowda, Prasanna
item WINCHELL, MICHAEL - Stone Environmental Consulting
item RATHJENS, HENDRIK - Stone Environmental Consulting
item Starks, Patrick
item Verser, Jerry - Alan

Submitted to: Journal of the American Water Resources Association
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/8/2019
Publication Date: 9/4/2019
Citation: Moriasi, D.N., Pai, N., Steiner, J.L., Gowda, P.H., Winchell, M., Rathjens, H., Starks, P.J., Verser, J.A. 2019. SWAT-LUT: A desktop graphical user interface for updating land use in SWAT. Journal of the American Water Resources Association. 55(5):1102-1115.

Interpretive Summary: The soil and water assessment tool (SWAT) is a widely used model to evaluate the effects of alternative management decisions on water resources and nonpoint-source pollution in watersheds and large river basins. The land use and land cover (LULC) map is one of the critical inputs to the watershed model. Traditionally, a single map is used to represent LULC of a watershed over a period ranging from several years to decades. However, using a single LULC map does not always provide an accurate representation of the land surface of the watershed where significant land use change may take place over a simulation period. Therefore, the SWAT-LUT, a user-friendly land use update tool (LUT) was developed to enable users to process and use multi-year LULC maps in watershed simulations. It also allows users to incorporate emerging land use categories and it is compatible with multiple SWAT model user interfaces. Two applications of the SWAT-LUT were presented to demonstrate its use and capabilities. The SWAT-LUT executable file along with supporting documentation is available to public and practitioners at no cost and it can be downloaded at USDA ARS El Reno, OK.

Technical Abstract: Long-term simulations of agricultural watersheds have often been done assuming constant land use over time, but this is not a realistic assumption for many agricultural regions. This paper presents SWAT-LUT, a standalone, user-friendly desktop-based land use update tool for the soil and water assessment tool (SWAT) model that allows users to process multi-year land use data and develop land use update files for SWAT 2012. It provides users with several options to easily prepare and incorporate land use change for the simulation period; discretely or uniformly distributed between periods of available land use maps. It allows users to incorporate past or emerging land use categories and is compatible with several versions of the SWAT model. Multiple land use maps and linear distributed land use changes between time stamps during the calibration process lead to realistic model parameterization and scenario simulations. SWAT-LUT is a public domain interface written in Python programming language. Two applications at the Fort Cobb Reservoir Experimental Watershed in Oklahoma are provided to demonstrate its use. The results of the impacts of land use change on hydrologic components including evapotranspiration, sediments, and nutrients are presented. The user’s manual is also included in this article as Supporting Information. The SWAT-LUT executable file and an example SWAT project with three land use rasters and the user’s manual are available at USDA ARS El Reno, OK.