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ARS Home » Plains Area » El Reno, Oklahoma » Grazinglands Research Laboratory » Agroclimate and Natural Resources Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #358495

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

Location: Agroclimate and Natural Resources Research

Title: Challenges of calibrating SWAT for arid/semiarid agricultural regions

item SAMIMI, MARYAM - Oklahoma State University
item MIRCHI, ALI - Oklahoma State University
item AHN, SORA - Texas A&M Agrilife
item Moriasi, Daniel
item SHENG, ZHUPING - Texas A&M Agrilife

Submitted to: American Geophysical Union
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/3/2018
Publication Date: 12/10/2018
Citation: Samimi, M., Mirchi, A., Ahn, S., Moriasi, D.N., Sheng, Z. 2018. Challenges of calibrating SWAT for arid/semiarid agricultural regions [abstract]. American Geophysical Union. Available at:

Interpretive Summary: Abstract only

Technical Abstract: Sustainable water resources management in arid and semi-arid agricultural areas is becoming increasingly critical in the face of growing water demand associated with population growth and heightened aridity. Watershed models, including the widely applied Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model, inform adaptive water management by facilitating quantitative analysis of different components of the water budget within a watershed. Realistic representation of regional hydrologic fluxes and water management practices that affect them is essential for meaningful SWAT applications. Despite significant advances in model parametrization and calibration, fine-tuning SWAT to reproduce regional hydrologic behavior of heavily regulated arid/semiarid watersheds with irrigated agriculture remains challenging, for example, due to variations in actual irrigation practices based on water availability. This poster will illustrate this classic watershed modeling challenge. We will synthesize the challenges of applying SWAT to arid-semiarid agricultural watersheds around the world. Furthermore, we will present an illustrative case of applying SWAT to a HUC8 watershed containing Elephant Butte Irrigation District in the New Mexico-Texas border region using a combination of “hard” and “soft” calibration data as a strategy for successful model calibration.