New Waves June 2011

Breaking news about water resources research and education in Texas

14th International SWAT Conference in Spain draws large crowd

The 2011 International SWAT Conference drew nearly 200 attendees from 37 countries with more than 130 oral and poster presentations on the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), a river basin-scale computer model developed to quantify the impact of land management practices in large, complex watersheds.

Group Photo

The public domain model, jointly developed by U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) and The Texas A&M University System, is widely used in hydrology and water quality assessment including, nonpoint source pollution for all sizes of watersheds from local to large river basin scale watersheds.

The conference, held June 15–17 at the University of Castilla La Mancha, in Toledo, Spain, was the 14th International SWAT Conference and included presentations on SWAT developments; climate change applications; environmental applications and new model developments. More than 65 participants participated in three SWAT workshops before the conference.

“The worldwide SWAT users’ community has continued to contribute research and help improve the SWAT model through applications and issues resulting from those applications,” said Dr. José María Bodoque del Pozo, environmental science faculty member at the University of Castilla La Mancha, in his welcoming address.

Dr. Raghavan Srinivasan, director of Texas A&M University’s Spatial Sciences Laboratory and member of the SWAT development team, said, “I strongly believe that these conference gatherings will continue to serve as a positive opportunity for our international research community to share the latest innovations developed for SWAT.” Srinivasan travels throughout the year to organize and conduct SWAT workshops and conferences.

SWAT developer Dr. Jeffrey Arnold, an agricultural engineer at the USDA-ARS Grassland Soil and Water Research Laboratory in Temple, said these conferences also are networking experience for fellow scientists and students around the globe. “It’s a chance for SWAT users’ to meet and exchange research and seek advice on model issues,” he said.

Conference participant Christine Kuendig, a doctorate student at Eawag, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology in Switzerland, is using SWAT to research the impact of the relationship between subbasin scale and climate stations resolution in the Rhine River Basin, the largest river basin in Western Europe.

“Some presentations and subsequent discussions at the conference provided helpful insights, which I can relate to my own research, namely the importance of the representation of climate data on smaller scales in contrast to my large scale study area,” she said.

Natalia Uribe Rivera, a hydrologic modeler at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Colombia, said this was her second International SWAT Conference and she appreciated the increased number of attendees from South America.

“The conference was excellent and I met participants from my continent and communicated in regards to current SWAT applications in South America,” Rivera said.

Conference presentations, photos and more information about the conference can be found on the conference website. Video presentations will be available in August.

Dr. A. K. Gosain, professor and civil engineering department head at the Indian Institute of Technology will host the 2012 International SWAT Conference on July 16–20 in Delhi, India, with SWAT workshops conducted prior to the conference.

SWAT is a river basin-scale model used to simulate the quality and quantity of surface and groundwater and predict the environmental impact of land management practices on different soil patterns and land use patterns. SWAT is widely used in soil erosion prevention and control, nonpoint source pollution control and regional management in watersheds.

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