River forground with trees in background.

WEG Model Development

Our research group has the mission to develop watershed models and tools for conducting agricultural BMP assessment at site, field, farm and watershed scales. Over the years we have developed models and tools in three categories:

1. Canadian Version of Soil and Water Assessment Tool (CanSWAT)

The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), developed by Agricultural Research Service of US Department of Agriculture, is a process based watershed model for the assessment of land management practice impacts on water, sediment, nutrient and other agricultural chemical yields at a watershed or river basin scale. Our research group has been adapting SWAT to Canadian cold conditions to develop a Canadian version of SWAT or CanSWAT. The adaptations include additional modules for simulating snow redistribution, frozen soil, small reservoir/dam , manure holding pond, watershed and sediment control basin,  and others. These adaptations have considerably improved SWAT performance in simulating hydrologic processes under Canadian cold conditions.

2. Integrated Modelling for Watershed Evaluation of BMPs (IMWEBs)

Our research group has developed a cell-based, fully distributed hydrologic model, named IMWEBs (Integrated Modelling for Watershed Evaluation of BMPs) for conducting site-specific BMP assessment at a watershed scale. The IMWEBs is complementary to semi-distributed model such as SWAT and has the capacity to assess water quantity and quality effects of agricultural BMPs at site, field, farm, and watershed scales.

We are currently developing wetland and livestock BMP modules in the IMWEBs. You are welcome to check out the Presentation for more details.

3. An Open Source GIS Interface for Watershed Evaluation of BMPs

Economic costs, water quantity/quality benefits, and cost effectiveness of agricultural BMPs at a watershed scale are increasingly examined using integrated economic-hydrologic models. However, these models are typically complex and not user-friendly for examining the effects of various BMP scenarios. Our research group has developed an open source GIS-based decision support system (DSS), named the Watershed Evaluation of BMPs (WEBs), for creating BMP scenarios and simulating economic costs and water quantity/quality benefits at field, farm, subbasin, and watershed scales. This DSS or WEBs interface integrates a farm economic model, the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), and databases within Whitebox GAT, an open source GIS software. You are welcome to check out the fact sheet and presentation to know more details.