Calibration of a modelling approach for sediment yield in a wattle plantation, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

  • BC Scott-Shaw Discipline of Hydrology, School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg Campus, South Africa
  • TR Hill Discipline of Geography, School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg Campus, South Africa
  • JS Gillham Discipline of Geography, School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg Campus, South Africa
Keywords: SWAT, modelling, commercial plantations, sediment yield, surface run-off

Abstract

Hydrological modelling is an appropriate approach to investigate the effect of interactions of climate, land-use and soil on the water-use of natural or managed ecosystems, in particular where spatial heterogeneity exists. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model has evolved into one of the most widely used catchment-scale hydrological models, which has been extensively used to better understand hydrological processes. In this paper, the SWAT model was adopted to simulate a wattle plantation in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. User-defined vegetation growth, soil and management input parameters were constructed for the study area based on site measurements. These parameters were subsequently modified using the Sequential Uncertainty Fitting (SUFI-2) analysis routine to calibrate the model. The calibrated model captured seasonal trends in the observed sediment and streamflow data. The compilation of spatially explicit sediment output provides a useful approach to manage catchments by identifying high erosion-risk areas. The SWAT model, using site-specific input parameters, provides a platform for subsequent hydrological and sediment modelling in South Africa.

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Published
2020-04-29
Section
Research paper