Evaluation of a non-point source pollution model, AnnAGNPS, in a tropical watershed

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Environmental Modelling and Software


Impaired water quality caused by human activity and the spread of invasive plant and animal species has been identified as a major factor of degradation of coastal ecosystems in the tropics. The main goal of this study was to evaluate the performance of AnnAGNPS (Annualized Non-Point Source Pollution Model), in simulating runoff and soil erosion in a 48 km2 watershed located on the Island of Kauai, Hawaii. The model was calibrated and validated using 2 years of observed stream flow and sediment load data. Alternative scenarios of spatial rainfall distribution and canopy interception were evaluated. Monthly runoff volumes predicted by AnnAGNPS compared well with the measured data (R2 = 0.90, P < 0.05); however, up to 60% difference between the actual and simulated runoff were observed during the driest months (May and July). Prediction of daily runoff was less accurate (R2 = 0.55, P < 0.05). Predicted and observed sediment yield on a daily basis was poorly correlated (R2 = 0.5, P < 0.05). For the events of small magnitude, the model generally overestimated sediment yield, while the opposite was true for larger events. Total monthly sediment yield varied within 50% of the observed values, except for May 2004. Among the input parameters the model was most sensitive to the values of ground residue cover and canopy cover. It was found that approximately one third of the watershed area had low sediment yield (0-1 t ha-1 y-1), and presented limited erosion threat. However, 5% of the area had sediment yields in excess of 5 t ha-1 y-1. Overall, the model performed reasonably well, and it can be used as a management tool on tropical watersheds to estimate and compare sediment loads, and identify "hot spots" on the landscape. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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