Verification of runoff volume, peak discharge and sediment yield simulated using the ACRU model for bare fallow and sugarcane fields

  • Daniel Otim 1. Agricultural Engineering, School of Engineering, College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa; 2. Department of Agricultural Mechanisation and Irrigation Engineering, Busitema University, PO Box 236, Tororo, Uganda
  • Jeff Smithers 1. Agricultural Engineering, School of Engineering, College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa; 2. National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia
  • Aidan Senzanje Agricultural Engineering, School of Engineering, College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
  • Rianto van Antwerpen 1. South African Sugarcane Research Institute, Mount Edgecombe, South Africa; 2. Department of Soil, Crops and Climate Sciences, University of the Free State, PO Box 339, Bloemfontein 9300, South Africa
Keywords: ACRU, bare fallow, peak discharge, sediment yield, streamflow, sugarcane

Abstract

The Agricultural Catchments Research Unit (ACRU) model is a daily time step physical-conceptual agrohydrological model with various applications, design hydrology being one of them. Model verification is a measure of model performance and streamflow, soil water content and sediment yield simulated by the ACRU model have been extensively verified against observed data in southern Africa and internationally. The primary objective of this study was to verify simulated runoff volume, peak discharge and sediment yield against observed data from small catchments, under both bare fallow conditions and sugarcane production, which were located at La Mercy in South Africa. The study area comprised 4 research catchments, 101, 102, 103 and 104, monitored both under bare fallow conditions and sugarcane production, with different management practices per catchment.  Observed data comprised: daily rainfall, maximum and minimum temperature, A-pan evaporation and runoff for the period 1978–1995, and peak discharge and sediment yield for the period 1984–1995. The data were checked for errors and and inconsistent records excluded from analysis. Runoff volume, peak discharge and sediment yield were simulated with the ACRU model and verified against the respective observed data. In general, the correlations between observed and simulated daily runoff volumes and peak discharge were acceptable (i.e. slopes of regression lines close to unity, R2 ≥ 0.6 and the Nash–Sutcliffe coefficient of efficiency close to unity). Similarly, the correlation between observed and simulated sediment yield was also good. From the results obtained, it is concluded that the ACRU model is suitable for the simulation of runoff volume, peak discharge and sediment yield from catchments under both bare fallow and sugarcane land cover in South Africa.

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Published
2020-04-29
Section
Research paper