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Stockholm Environment Institute, Technical Report - 2012

Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact


Assessment of Agricultural Water Management Interventions
in Jaldhaka Watershed: Data and Set Up of Models
Devaraj de Condappa, Jennie Barron,
Sat Kumar Tomer and Sekhar Muddu

Application of SWAT and a Groundwater


Model for Impact Assessment of Agricultural
Water Management Interventions in Jaldhaka
Watershed: Data and Set Up of Models
Devaraj de Condappa, Jennie Barron,
Sat Kumar Tomer and Sekhar Muddu

Stockholm Environment Institute


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Copyright March 2012 by Stockholm Environment Institute

Abstract
This study contributes to the understanding of potential for Agricultural Water Management (AWM)
interventions in the watershed of Jaldhaka river, a tributary of the Brahmaputra river, located in Bhutan, India and Bangladesh. An application of the Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) and of a simple
lumped groundwater model was developed for the Jaldhaka watershed.
The first stage of this work was to collect a large dataset to characterise the natural and agricultural contexts of the Jaldhaka watershed. The watershed has a contrasting topography, with mountains
upstream and large plains downstream. It experiences high rainfall with a monsoonal pattern and an
average of 3,300 mm/year. The river flow is seasonal, with a sustained flow during the dry season, high
flows during the monsoon and recurrent flood events. The soils are sandy loam (upstream) to silty loam
(downstream), with little permeability. The aquifers in the region are alluvial and the groundwater levels in the watershed are shallow and stable.
This study contributed to the development of a precise landuse map which identifies the natural
vegetation, the water bodies, the settlements / towns, the tea plantations and the different cropping
sequences in the agricultural land. Agricultural statistics were gathered at administrative levels for
cropping sequences and crop yields. The irrigation in the watershed is predominantly from groundwater, with diesel pumps, to irrigate rice during summer and potatoes during winter.
SWAT and the groundwater model were adjusted in an interactive manner: SWAT was calibrated
against the observed streamflows while the groundwater model was calibrated against the observed
groundwater levels and the interaction aimed at the convergence of both models. The performance
was satisfactory for modelling the watershed on an average monthly basis. However, the model set-up
failed to reproduce adequately the crop yields. This paper ends with a discussion of the modelling setup and data collection for agro-hydrological modelling.
This set-up was applied in an accompanying research report to study the current state of the hydrology
in the Jaldhaka watershed and the impacts of two types of AWM scenarios.

Contents
Abstract iii
List of abbreviations

viii

1 Introduction

2 Introduction to the modelling softwares

2.1 Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT)


2.2 Groundwater model
3 Biophysical data of the Jaldhaka watershed
3.1 Digital Elevation Model
3.2 Streamflow data
3.3 Climate data
3.4 Soils
3.5 Groundwater data
3.6 Land-use
3.7 Agricultural
3.8 Irrigation
4 Modelling set up
4.1 Initial setting of SWAT
4.2 Calibration of the groundwater model and SWAT
5 Discussion
5.1 on the input dataset
5.2 on the model set up
6 Conclusion

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58

Acknowledgements 60
Annex

62

References 70

LIST of fIGURES
Figure 1: Location of the Jaldhaka / Dharla river watershed (in purple). The delineation
of the Jaldhaka / Dharla watershed were generated in this work.
Figure 2: Scheme of the modelling
Figure 3: Digital Elevation Model from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission and
locations where climatic and streamflow data was available
Figure 5: Topographic profile of the transect defined in Figures 3 and 4
Figure 4: Slope derived from the DEM, the two local meteorological and streamflow
gauge stations
Figure 7: Available time-series for streamflows measured at Taluk-Simulbari and
Kurigram stations, unfiltered (left) and average monthly streamflow, filtered
(right); the vertical error bars indicate the statistical standard deviation of daily
streamflows
Figure 8: Zoom around Kurigram on Google Earth where are visible the infrastructures
for water diversion as well as the neighbouring rivers, in particular the
massive Brahmaputra.
Figure 9: Representative average rainfall for the Jaldhaka watershed, as calculated by
SWAT, and average streamflow at Kurigram (period 1998 2008)
Figure 10: Rainfall at Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar stations (period 1988 - 2008). Top:
daily rainfall. Middle: annual rainfall. Bottom: average monthly rainfall, the
vertical error bars in red indicate the statistical standard deviation of daily
rainfall (in mm/day)
Figure 11: Average climatic data at Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar stations (period 1988
- 2008). Top: temperature. Middle: wind. Bottom: humidity. The vertical error
bars indicate the statistical standard deviation of daily data
Figure 12: Distribution of the average annual rainfall in the sub-watersheds, as
represented in SWAT (period 1998 - 2008)
Figure 13: The georeferenced soil map in the region of the Jaldhaka watershed
Figure 14: The Harmonised World Soil Database and its soil units in the region of the
Jaldhaka watershed.
Figure 15: Plot in soil textural triangle of the United State Department of Agriculture
Figure 16: Location of the observation wells for groundwater level measurement. CGWB
stands for Central Ground Water Board and SWID for State Water
Figure 17: Measured groundwater levels in the Jaldhaka watershed. In pale: level of
different wells. In black: average of all the wells
Figure 18: Typical groundwater levels in the Jaldhaka watershed. The wells are located
on Figure 16. The vertical error bars indicate the statistical standard deviation
Figure 19: Interpolation of average piezometric levels observed by the State Water
Investigation Directorate (SWID) (period 1994 - 2009).
Figure 20: Satellite images acquired for high resolution landuse mapping. Note the
demarcation between the north and south view
Figure 21: Location of the groundtruthing sites visited in April 2010 and draft
unsupervised classification of the landuse. Right: zoom on the transect (note
on this view the discrepancy
Figure 22: Calendar of the main cropping sequences in the Jaldhaka watershed
Figure 23: High resolution (10 m) landuse map of the Jaldhaka watershed (year 2008).
Figure 24: Photos of the spots identified on the landuse map (Figure 23)
Figure 25: Modified version of the landuse map (Figure 23, year 2008) entered in SWAT
(90 m resolution)
vi

1
3
7
7
7

10
11

13

15
16
17
17
19
21
22
22
23
24

25
26
27
28
29

Figure 26: Area of the major crops in administrative blocks containing the Jaldhaka
watershed
32
Figure 27: Yield of the major crops in administrative blocks containing the Jaldhaka
watershed. Mind the different vertical scale
33
Figure 29: Average monthly reference evapotranspiration calculated from difference
sources
46
Figure 30: Calibration with respect to the actual evapotranspiration ETa. Monthly value
of the different landuse vegetation categories (average over the calibration
period, 1998 2008).
47
Figure 31: Piezometric levels simulated at a monthly time-step by the groundwater model
vs. observations
48
Figure 32: Calibration with respect to the recharge of the shallow aquifer (GW_RCHG),
average for the Jaldhaka watershed over the calibration period (1998 2008) 49
Figure 33: Calibration with respect to the shallow groundwater baseflow (GW_Q),
average for the Jaldhaka watershed over the calibration period (1998 2008) 50
Figure 34: Streamflow simulated (FLOW_OUT) at Kurigram in the initial run over the
calibration period (1998 2008)
51
Figure 35: Streamflow simulated (FLOW_OUT) in the final calibration (calibration run
n100) over the calibration period (1998 2008).
53
Figure A.1: Example of the groundtruthing form (site GT 35) filled by the field assistants 69

LIST of TAbLES
Table 1:
Table 2:

Topographic regions of the Jaldhaka watershed


7
Available number of measurements at Taluk-Simulbari and Kurigram stations.
Source of data: Bangladesh Water Development Board.
8
Table 3: Available climatic time-series and gaps in the datasets. RMC stands for
Regional Meteorological Centre (Kolkata) and NCC for National Climate
Centre.
12
Table 4: Annual rainfall at Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar stations (period 1988 - 2008) 14
Table 5: Available measured groundwater levels in the Indian part of the watershed.
CGWB stands for Central Ground Water Board and SWID for State Water
Investigation Directorate.
20
Table 6: Distribution of the landuse categories (Figure 23) within the Jaldhaka
watershed.
28
Table 7: Distribution of the landuse categories entered in SWAT (Figure 25).
30
Table 8: Available agricultural statistics.
30
Table 9: Average yields in the administrative blocks containing the Jaldhaka
watershed, period 1998 2008. In bracket the average dry yield of rice for
period 2004 to 2008. Source of data: Bureau of Applied Economics and
Statistics and Directorate of Agriculture.
31
Table 10: Typical cropping sequences and associated irrigation schedules in the
Jaldhaka watershed.
34
Table 11: Indicative distribution per sub-watershed of the cropping sequences within the
landuse units AAAJ and AWJJ. Derived with data from the Bureau of Applied
Economics and Statistics and the Directorate of Agriculture.
36
Table 12: Estimated irrigation per crop. Sources of data: groundwater pumping duration
from Mukherji (2007) and diesel pump discharge from TERI (2007)
38

vii

Table 13: Indicative areas irrigated from surface sources in each sub-watershed,
derived from DPDWB (2005) for year 2004/5
38
Table 14: HRUs generation stages.
40
Table 15: Landuse distribution considered in SWAT after pre-processing by ArcSWAT,
with respect to the discretisation in HRUs, and management operations for
each category.
42
Table 16: Estimation of irrigation areas and amount for 2008, with respect to the
discretisation in HRUs.
43
Table 17: Initial values for undetermined SWATs parameters.
44
Table 18: Average annual reference evapotraspiration calculated from different sources. 46
Table 19: Calibration with respect to the evapotranspiration ETa. Annual values of the
ratio ETa / ET0 for the different landuse vegetation categories (average over
the calibration period, 1998 2008). Aman: monsoon rice, Boro: summer
rice, Aus: pre-monsoon rice.
47
Table 20: Values of the calibration indicators defined by Eq. (10) to (13).
52
Table 21: Watershed-average dry crop yields simulated by SWAT in the final calibration
(calibration run n100) over the calibration period (1998 2008).
53
Table 22: Simplifications and limitations of the modelling.
55
Table A.1: Soil parameters. Light orange: data from the original soil map from the Indian
National Bureau of Soil Survey and Landuse Planning.
62
Table A.2: SWAT vegetation / crop parameters.
65
Table A.3: Sources of irrigation per administrative blocks containing the Jaldhaka
watershed, year 2004/5
66
Table A.4: SWAT calibration steps.
68

LIST of AbbREvIATIonS
ALAI_MIN

SWAT parameter, minimum LAI for plant during dormant period [L2/L2]

ALOS
ALPHA_BF
ArcSWAT
AVNIR
AWC
AWM
B
BLAI
CGWB
CH_K(1)

Advanced Land Observing Satellite


SWAT parameter, baseflow alpha factor [-]
ArcGIS interface for SWAT
Advanced Visible and Near Infrared Radiometer
SWAT parameter, available water capacity (AWC, [L3/L3])
Agricultural water management
Baseflow into the streams [L/T]
SWAT parameter, maximum potential LAI [L2/L2]
Central Ground Water Board
SWAT parameter, effective hydraulic conductivity in tributary channel alluvium
[L/T]
SWAT parameter, effective hydraulic conductivity in main channel alluvium [L/T]
SWAT parameter, Manning's value for the tributary channel [-]
SWAT parameter, Manning's value for the main channel [-]
SWAT parameter, maximum canopy height [L]
SWAT parameter, initial soil curve number for moisture condition II [-]
SWAT parameter, initial depth of water in the deep aquifer [L]
Digital elevation model
Net groundwater draft [L/T]
Development & Planning Department - West Bengal
SWAT parameter, plant uptake compensation factor [-]
SWAT parameter, soil evaporation compensation factor [-]

CH_K(2)
CH_N(1)
CH_N(2)
CHTMX
CN2
DEEPST
DEM
Dnet
DPDWB
EPCO
ESCO
viii

ETa
ET0
FLOW_OUT
GIS
GPS
GT
GW_DELAY
GW_Q
GW_RCHG
GW_REVAP
GWQMIN
h
HRU
HWSD
I
IDC
IWMI
LAI
M
masl
mbgl
NS
NShigh
NSlow
O
P
PGIS
PHU
RCHRG_DP
RDMX
REVAPMN
RG
SEI
SHALLST
SOL_K
Sol_Z
SOL_ZMX
SRTM
SURLAG
SWAT
SWID
Sy
t
T_BASE
T_OPT
WISE
WTF

Actual evapotranspiration [L/T]


Reference evapotranspiration [L/T]
SWAT ouput, average daily streamflow out of reach during time step [L/T]
Geographical Information System
Global Positioning System
Groundtruthing
SWAT parameter, groundwater delay time [T]
SWAT ouput, groundwater baseflow contribution to streamflow [L]
SWAT ouput, recharge entering the shallow aquifer [L]
SWAT parameter, groundwater evaporation coefficient [-]
SWAT parameter, threshold depth of water in the shallow aquifer required for
baseflow to occur [L]
Groundwater piezometric level [L]
Hydrologic response unit
Harmonised World Soil Database
Irrigation [L/T]
SWAT parameter, land cover / plant classification
International Water Management Institute
Leaf area index [L2/L2]
Bias indicator [-]
Meter above sea level [L]
Meter below ground level [L]
Nash and Sutcliffe (1970) efficiency [-]
Modified version of NS to emphasise on high flows [-]
Modified version of NS to emphasise on low flows [-]
Net groundwater underflow [L/T]
Rainfall [L/T]
Participatory GIS
SWAT parameter, total number of heat units or growing degree days needed to
bring plant to maturity
SWAT parameter, deep aquifer percolation fraction [-]
SWAT parameter, maximum root depth [L]
SWAT parameter, threshold depth of water in the shallow aquifer required for
evaporation or percolation to the deep aquifer to occur [L]
Total groundwater recharge [L/T]
Stockholm Environment Institute
SWAT parameter, initial depth of water in the shallow aquifer [L]
SWAT parameter, Soil conductivity, [L/T]
SWAT parameter, depth from soil surface to bottom soil layer [L]
SWAT parameter, Maximum rooting depth [L]
Shuttle Radar Topography Mission
SWAT parameter, surface runoff lag coefficient [-]
Soil Water Assessment Tool
State Water Investigation Directorate (West Bengal)
Specific yield [L3/L3]
Time [T]
SWAT parameter, minimum (base) temperature for plan growth [C]
SWAT parameter, optimal temperature for plan growth [C]
World Inventory of Soil Emission Potentials
Water Table Fluctuation

ix

Stockholm Environment Institute

InTRoDUcTIon

Agricultural Water Management (AWM) interventions are often a first step towards increasing smallholder farmers yield levels, their incomes and household food security, in many developing countries.
Globally, smallholder farming systems may have the potential to increase current yield levels 2-4
times, and water productivity gains potentially more than double (Rockstrm 2003).
The AgWater Solution project (http://awm-solutions.iwmi.org/) is systematically assessing opportunities to invest in agricultural water management interventions at local to continental scale, to enhance
smallholder farmers livelihoods. However, agricultural development and intensification can also unintentionally impact various social and environmental dimensions where the interventions are adopted.
This report considers the AgWater Solution project watershed of the Jaldhaka river, also known as
Dharla, a tributary of the Brahmaputra river. It is a transboundary river originating in Bhutan, flowing through India and joining the Brahmaputra in Bangladesh (Figure 1). The Jaldhaka watershed
is one of four project watershed sites, subject to a suite of assessments on agro-hydrological, livelihood and institutional contexts undertaken to identify what potential opportunities there are at a local
(watershed) scale and how potential interventions may impact the environment, in particular water
resources, and livelihoods.

Figure 1: Location of the Jaldhaka / Dharla river watershed (in purple). The delineation of the
Jaldhaka / Dharla watershed were generated in this work.
Images adapted from Google Earth

Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment

The focus of this work is the development of an application of the Soil Water Assessment Tool
(SWAT) and of a simple lumped groundwater model to study the impacts on hydrological balance
and crop production under different scenarios of agricultural interventions. This working paper presents the methodology deployed for data collection and agro-hydrological modelling of the surface
and groundwater resource of the Jaldhaka watershed. The accompanying research report de Condappa et al. (2011) applies the modelling to analyse the current state of the hydrology and agricultural water management scenarios. The following sections introduce the chosen modelling software
(section II.), the input dataset (section III.), the set up of the models (section IV.) and will end with a
discussion (section V.).

Stockholm Environment Institute

InTRoDUcTIon To ThE MoDELLInG SofTWARES

The primary hydrological model selected for this purpose was the Soil and Water Assessment Tool
(SWAT) developed by the United State Department of Agriculture and Texas A & M University. SWAT
simulates the different surface and ground hydrological components as well as crop yields. Since its
modelling of the groundwater is extremely simplified and the groundwater is a prominent water resource
for agriculture in the Jaldhaka watershed, the groundwater model developed by Tomer et al. (2010)
was also employed to specifically describe the groundwater processes. The groundwater model interpreted the available groundwater levels, which is not possible with the used version of SWAT , and
guided subsequently the setting of SWATs groundwater parameters. The strategy of the modelling
that will be detailed in the following sections is illustrated in Figure

Figure 2: Scheme of the modelling

2.1

Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT)

For the application to the Jaldhaka watershed, version 433 of SWAT 2009 was used and it was operated through the interface ArcSWAT version 2009.93.4. General information on this model can be
found on the website http://swatmodel.tamu.edu and in the references Arnold et al. (1993), Srinivasan and Arnold (1994), Arnold et al. (1995) and Arnold et al. (1998)

2.2

Groundwater model

The groundwater model considered here was developed by Tomer et al. (2010). It is based on a combination of groundwater budget and the Water Table Fluctuation (WTF) technique. The WTF technique
has widely been applied to link the change in ground water storage with resulting water table fluctuations through the storage parameter (specific yield). The WTF is a lumped model based approach suited
when limited hydraulic head measurements made at a finite number of observation wells and also little hydrological, geological and meteorological information is available. It was first used to estimate
ground water recharge (e.g., in West Africa by Leduc et al. (1997), in Korea by Moon et al. (2004)) and
has been extended to estimate change in groundwater storage (e.g., in California by Ruud et al. (2004))
or the ground water recharge and the specific yield (e.g., in India by Marchal et al. (2006)) with the
combined use of groundwater budget.

Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment

The main limitations of the WTF modelling method are: (i) it requires the knowledge of the specific yield of the saturated aquifer at a suitable scale, (ii) its accuracy depends on both the knowledge
and representativeness of water table fluctuations and (iii) it does not explicitly take into account the
spatial variability of inputs, outputs, or parameters and considers the catchment as an undivided entity
and uses lumped values of input variables and parameters. This approach was however relevant to this
work as observed time-series of groundwater levels were available at different locations while very
few other hydrogeological data were obtained. As SWATs groundwater module does not simulate piezometric levels, the groundwater model enabled the use of the available measured groundwater levels.
The mathematical expressions at the core of the groundwater model developed by Tomer et al. (2010)
is the groundwater budget:
(1)

where Sy [L3/L3] is the specific yield, h [L] is the groundwater piezometric level, t [T] is the time,
RG [L/T] is the total groundwater recharge due to rainfall and other sources including irrigation and
recharge from streams, Dnet [L/T] is the net groundwater draft, B [L/T] is the baseflow into the streams
and O [L/T] is the net groundwater underflow from the area across the watershed boundary. The term
represents the total discharge (Tomer et al., 2010).
In this work, we assumed that O represented regional deep aquifer processes and was nil at the scale
of the Jaldhaka watershed. Moreover, following the approach of Park and Parker (2008), a linear relationship was assumed between the baseflow B and the level h:
(2)

where [1/T] is a rate coefficient. Replaced in Eq. (1) it gives:


(3)

The equation (3) is a linear ordinary differential equation, which can be solved analytically. Following the guidance of Simon (2006), the analytical solution was converted into a discrete equation for
the ease of modelling, which can be written as:
(4)

where A [-] is called the discharge parameter, k is the index for time and the discharge was equal to:
(5)

As commonly assumed, the recharge RG is calculated linearly from rainfall P [L/T] and irrigation I
[L/T]:

Stockholm Environment Institute

(6)

where r [-] is the recharge factor. Note that the irrigation I is only equal to Dnet if groundwater is
the only source of irrigation water (e.g., no irrigation from river). As in the Jaldhaka watershed the
groundwater data did not show a constant recharge factor, a time varying recharge factor was assumed,
calculated from the rainfall P and irrigation I:
(7)

where a [-] and b [T/L] are recharge parameters. Finally, the total recharge RG is expressed as:
(8)

and Eq. (4) and (8) are used during the calculations of the groundwater model.

Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment

bIophySIcAL DATA of ThE JALDhAkA WATERShED

Biophysical data were gathered by conducting field work, request to relevant organisations and using
publicly available data on internet.

3.1

Digital Elevation Model

3.1.a Source
The source of the Digital Elevation Model (DEM) is the Shuttle Topography Mission (SRTM), as
pre-processed by Jarvis et al. (2008).
3.1.b Analysis
In Figures 3 and 4, three topographic regions can be identified in the watershed (Table 1):

mountainous upstream (18 per cent of the watershed), where elevation ranges from 500 to more
than 4,000 meter above sea level (masl) and slope from 3 to 40 degrees (within the watershed),

piedmont upstream (22 per cent of the watershed), where elevation ranges from 100 to 500 masl
and slope from 1 to 3 degree,

and plain middle and downstream (60 per cent of the watershed), where elevation ranges from 100
to 18 masl and slope less than 1 degree.
The profile of transect defined on Figures 3 and 4 is placed in Figure 5.
A striking characteristic of this watershed is the flatness in the plain which:

makes the delineation of the watershed boundary downstream highly uncertain,

and entails invasive floods from neighbouring rivers, in particular from the Teesta river bordering
the watershed in the west; during these events, the delineation is further uncertain as rain falling
outside of the watersheds border contributes to the flood of the Jaldhaka river, hence the defined
watershed boundaries varies with rainfall and flood events.

3.2

Streamflow data

3.2.a Source
Obtaining streamflow from Indian organisations (Central Water Commission, Irrigation and Waterways Department) was impossible during the span of this study. Instead the Bangladesh Water Development Board provided flow of the Jaldhaka at two gauges stations, downstream in the Bangladeshi
part: Taluk-Simulbari and Kurigram (Figure 6). The measurements were instantaneous readings of
height, i.e., no average over a time-span, from August 1998 to June 2009 with variable frequencies:

at Taluk-Simulbari: almost daily up to June 2002, then weekly,

at Kurigram: about twice a month.

Stockholm Environment Institute

Figure 3: Digital Elevation Model from the


Figure 4: Slope derived from the DEM, the two
Shuttle Radar Topography Mission and locations local meteorological and streamflow gauge
where climatic and streamflow data was
stations
available

4,500 Crest of the watershed

Table 1: Topographic regions of


the Jaldhaka watershed

Mountains

Plains

Topography

Area
(km)

Share (%)

Mountains

1,031

18

2,000

Piedmont

1,270

22

1,500

Plains

3,494

60

Total

5,795

100

3,500

Elevation (masl)

Piedmont

4,000

3,000
2,500

1,000

Boundary of
the watershed

500
0

20

40

60

80 100 120 140 160 180 200

Distance (km)
Figure 5: Topographic profile of the transect defined in
Figures 3 and 4

Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment

3.2.b Inspection of the data


The number of measurements is higher at Taluk-Simulbari, especially during the low flow season
(Table 2). The hydrographs of both stations were compared and some measurements at Kurigram
appeared suspicious (Figure 7); these were removed. In total, 878 measurements at Taluk-Simulbari
and 197 at Kurigram were used to calibrate the SWAT application for the Jaldhaka watershed.
Table 2: Available number of measurements at Taluk-Simulbari and Kurigram stations. Source of
data: Bangladesh Water Development Board.
original data
kurigram
#

filtered data

Taluk-Simulbari

kurigram

Taluk-Simulbari

% of
days

% of
days

% of
days

% of
days

Low flows
November to
April

112

6%

674

34%

97

5%

674

34%

High flows
May to October

112

5%

204

9%

100

5%

204

9%

Total

224

5%

878

21%

197

5%

878

21%

As Kurigram is located downstream of Taluk-Simulbari, the flow at Kurigram should be greater


than at Taluk-Simulbari. The average monthly flow during the months July to March seems to satisfy
this criteria (Figure 7). However during April to June, when the first major rain events occur, this is
not any longer the case. Without a detailed knowledge of the local conditions, we speculated that this
may be due to diversion infrastructures that are visible on Google Earth, which divert part of the raising water (Figure 8).
Another apparent anomaly is that peaks of the discharge at Kurigram are much greater than at TalukSimulbari. Three possible explanations could be:

there are errors in measurements of peak flows at Taluk-Simulbari and / or at Kurigram; we think
that these errors are most likely at Kurigram where the standard deviation is very important for
measurements in July (Figure 7),

in this flat zone the tributaries of the Brahmaputra (in particular the Teesta and Torsa rivers) converge, hence it is possible that flood water from these neighbouring rivers invade the part of the
watershed between Taluk-Simulbari and Kurigram, creating much higher flows at Kurigram,

Kurigram is just 20 km upstream from the massive Brahmaputra, hence it could be that flood
water from the Brahmaputra travel upstream; however, according to the DEM, the difference in
elevation from Kurigram and the confluence is about 9 m, which does not favour this possibility.

3.2.c Analysis of the filtered data


The flow of the Jaldhaka is perennial at both locations, although there is an important seasonal
contrast (Figure 7). The low flow season is between November to April, the average base discharge is
8

Stockholm Environment Institute

4,000

Kurigram

Taluk-Simulbari

3,500

Discharge (m3/s)

3,000
2,500
2,000
1,500
1,000
500
0

Jun-98 Oct-99 Mar-01 Jul-02 Dec-03 Apr-05 Aug-06 Jan-08 May-09

3,000

Kurigram
Taluk-Simulbari

Discharge (m3/s)

2,500

2,000

1,500

1,000

500

10

11

12

Month
Figure 7: Available time-series for streamflows measured at Taluk-Simulbari and Kurigram stations,
unfiltered (left) and average monthly streamflow, filtered (right); the vertical error bars indicate the
statistical standard deviation of daily streamflows
Source: Bangladesh Water Development Board

Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment

Figure 8: Zoom around Kurigram on Google Earth where are visible the infrastructures for water
diversion as well as the neighbouring rivers, in particular the massive Brahmaputra.

114 m3/s (coefficient of variation of 52 per cent) at Kurigram and about 11 per cent of the annual flow
occurs during this period.
The high flow season occurs between May to October with a sharp raise of the discharge in June.
Occurrence of flood is common, often in the month of July, with a maximum of 3,700 m3/s measured
at Kurigram in July 2005. According to a personal communication from the Irrigation and Waterways
Department Cooch Behar, the maximum flow measured at Mathabhanga (the inlet of sub-watershed
13 on Figure 6) is 10,120 m3/s, about three times more the maximum observed during the time period
August 1998 to June 2009 (3,700 m3/s). The force of the floods can be such that the main river of the
region, the Teesta, shifted its course from the Ganges to the Brahmaputra only in the last three hundred
years (Kundu and Soppe 2002).
The comparison of rainfall and streamflow patterns (Figure 9) shows that both signals reach their
maximum in the same month (July) but there is a lag: the increase in streamflow at the beginning of
the monsoon is not as rapid as for rainfall and the decrease of flows is buffered at the end of the rain
season. Moreover, there is a noticeable baseflow during the dry season.
3.2.d Processing for modelling generation of the sub-watersheds
The DEM (section III.1.) was used as such in ArcSWAT and the Automatic Watershed Delineation
routine of ArcSWAT generated the set of sub-watersheds for the modelling. As the downstream part of
the watershed is very flat, the tributaries downstream were digitised on Google Earth and included in
the Automatic Watershed Delineation so as to carve their river beds in the DEM. The same was done
with tributaries of the neighbouring Teesta river system (Figure 1) for a correct demarcation.
As we had no data on the flow of the Jaldhaka at the confluence with the Brahmaputra, the outlet
of the watershed chosen in this work was not this confluence (6,140 km) but the Kurigram station
(5,795 km) (Figures 2 and 3).
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Jaldhaka watershed rainfall


Streamflow at
Kurigram

1,200

(mm / month)

1,000

800

600

400

200

Month

10

11

12

Figure 9: Representative average rainfall for the Jaldhaka watershed, as calculated by SWAT, and
average streamflow at Kurigram (period 1998 2008)
The vertical error bars indicate the statistical standard deviation of monthly values (in mm/month).

An important parameter of the delineation routine is the minimum area of the sub-watersheds. As
sub-watersheds carry the climatic characteristics of the watershed, it is advisable to consider a sufficient number of sub-watersheds (S. L. Neitsch et al. 2005). However the observed streamflow was
only available at two gauge stations and climatic data about every 0.5 (cf. section III.3. and Figure 3),
the minimum area threshold was chosen equal to 200 km, which generated a sufficient number of 14
sub-watersheds.
Four additional sub-watersheds were manually created (Figure 6):

two having the Indian streamflow gauge stations as outlet (NH-31 and Mathabhanga), in case data
from these stations become available at a later stage (sub-watersheds n3 and 10),

one for the Taluk-Simulbari station (sub-watershed n17),

and a last to represent climatic data from Jalpaiguri meteorological station (sub-watershed n8).

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Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment

3.3

climate data

3.3.a Sources
Two sources of climate data were obtained (Figure 3):

daily rainfall, min and max temperatures, wind and humidity at Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar stations, period 1988 2008, from the Regional Meteorological Centre, Kolkata;

gridded daily rainfall at a resolution of 0.5, period 1971 2005, from the National Climate Centre, Pune (Rajeevan and Bhate 2008); 8 pixels from this dataset are within and near the watershed.
The coverage of these dataset is summarised in Table 3.

Table 3: Available climatic time-series and gaps in the datasets. RMC stands for Regional
Meteorological Centre (Kolkata) and NCC for National Climate Centre.
variable

Time
period

Resolution

Rainfall

1988 2008

Daily

Rainfall

1971 2005

Daily

Min
temperature

1988 2008

Daily

Max
temperature

1988 2008

Daily

Humidity

1988 2008

Daily

Wind

1988 2008

Daily

Missing measurements

Available
measurements (days)

(days)

( per cent)

6,040

1,631

21

Cooch Behar

7,034

637

Jalpaiguri

12,784

Whole India,
resolution 0.5

6,036

1,635

21

Cooch Behar

5,868

1,803

24

Jalpaiguri

6,039

1,632

21

Cooch Behar

7,027

644

Jalpaiguri

6,017

1,654

22

Cooch Behar

6,353

1,318

17

Jalpaiguri

3,656

4,015

52

Cooch Behar

4,467

3,204

42

Jalpaiguri

Location

Source

RMC

NCC

RMC

RMC

RMC

RMC

3.3.b Analysis
The annual rainfall is important in the Jaldhaka watershed with values fluctuating from 2,000 to
almost 5,000 mm/year, with an average of 3,500 mm/year at Cooch Behar station, during period
1988 to 2008 (Figure 10 and Table 4). The rainfall has a monsoonal seasonal pattern, with a relatively
dry season from November to March and a rainy season from April to October (Figure 10). Almost
all of the annual rain falls in the rainy season (98 per cent), especially between June to September
(80 per cent). Daily rainfall intensities can be very high during the peak of the monsoon, with in average about 33 mm/day per rain event, occurrence every year of events greater than 100 mm/day and a
maximum recorded in the magnitude of 470 mm/day in 1999. Some daily rain events usually occur
every month of the dry season, but of much lesser magnitude.
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Jalpaiguri

450
350
300
250
200
150
100
50

450
400
350
300
250
200
150
100
50
0

87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09

Year

Jalpaiguri

5,000

4,500
4,000
3,500
3,000
2,500
2,000
1,500
1,000
500
0

Year

Annual rainfall (mm / year)

Annual rainfall (mm / year)

5,000

87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09

4,500
4,000
3,500
3,000
2,500
2,000
1,500
1,000
500
0

88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 00 401 02 03 04 05 06 07 08

Monthly
Daily
event

80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Month

88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 00 401 02 03 04 05 06 07 08

Year

Cooch Behar

Monthly rainfall (mm / month)

Monthly rainfall (mm / month)

Jalpaiguri

Average daily rain event (mm / day)

Year

1,000
900
800
700
600
500
400
300
200
100
0

Cooch Behar

1,000
900
800
700
600
500
400
300
200
100
0

80

Monthly
Daily
event

70
60
50
40
30
20
10

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Month

Average daily rain event (mm / day)

400

Cooch Behar

500

Daily rainfall (mm / day)

Daily rainfall (mm / day)

500

Figure 10: Rainfall at Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar stations (period 1988 - 2008). Top: daily
rainfall. Middle: annual rainfall. Bottom: average monthly rainfall, the vertical error bars in red
indicate the statistical standard deviation of daily rainfall (in mm/day)
Source: Regional Meteorological Centre, Kolkata

Temperature in the watershed is moderately warm with a winter season from November to February,
where minimum monthly temperature is about 10C in the plain, and a summer season from March to
October, where maximum monthly temperature is about 32C in the plain (Figure 11). Wind measurements from both local stations show some differences and after comparing with average data available
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Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment

Table 4: Annual rainfall at Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar stations (period 1988 - 2008)
Source: Regional Meteorological Centre, Kolkata

Station

Range (mm/year)

Average (mm/year)

cv ( per cent)

Jalpaiguri

2,000 4,800

3,375

20

Cooch Behar

2,500 4,900

3,500

19

on the website of the Indian Meteorological Department, measurements from Jalpaiguri station appear
erroneous. Values from Cooch Behar indicate that there is a clear variation of wind with time, with a
maximum of about 6 m/s in April followed by a continuous decrease to 2 m/s in December. Monthly
humidity is high and does not vary much monthly, taking a minimum of 60 per cent in March and a
maximum of 85 per cent during several months in winter and summer.
High humidity and moderately warm temperature imply that the reference evapotranspiration (R. G.
Allen et al. 1998) is modest in the watershed, with an average value of 1,300 mm/year (period 1998
2008). As a consequence, the ratio [rainfall] / [reference evapotranspiration] is particularly high as it
equals 2.5, which is a distinguishable characteristic of this watershed as compared to the other watersheds studied by the AgWater Solution Project.
With respect to daily variability of the climate data within a month, unsurprisingly rainfall is the
most variable followed by the wind, and less variable is the humidity and almost stable monthly-wise
are the temperatures (Figures 10 and 11).
3.3.c Processing for modelling
Modelling requires a continuous climate input dataset. As the data from the two local stations has
some gaps (Table 3) and the daily rainfall gridded data from NCC ends in 2005, we tried to complement both dataset to have a continuous coverage in the period 1998 2008, which was the calibration
period of the groundwater model and SWAT. More precisely we used multivariate regression method:

during period 1998 2005 to fill gaps in rainfall data from the two local stations Jalpaiguri and
Cooch Behar using gridded data as predictor, without considering any time lag in the rainfall of
neighbouring stations,

during 2006 2008, on the contrary, gridded data at the 8 pixels were predicted from measurements at the two local stations.

As for temperatures, humidity and especially wind, a daily missing value was replaced by the average of contiguous days. Gaps of several days were replaced by the average value of the given month.
During the processing of input data, the ArcSWAT interface selects for each sub-watershed the
meteorological station which is the closest to the centroid of the sub-watershed. In our case, ArcSWAT
chose for the whole Jaldhaka watershed the two local stations and three pixels of the gridded data.
The equivalent distribution of annual rainfall is mapped on Figure 12. There is no clear pattern of the
rainfall with this method of distributing rainfall, with a succession of higher or lower rainfall amount
while one moves from upstream to downstream.

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Max
Min

Jalpaiguri

Cooch Behar

35

35

30

30

25
20
15
10
5
0

25
20
15
10
5
0

9 10 11 12

9 10 11 12

10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0

Month

Humidity (%)

9 10 11 12

9 10 11 12

9 10 11 12

Cooch Behar

Humidity (%)
1

Month

Jalpaiguri
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0

Cooch Behar

Wind speed (m/s)

Wind speed (m/s)

Jalpaiguri

Month

Month

10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0

Max
Min

40

Temperature (C)

Temperature (C)

40

9 10 11 12

Month

100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0

Month

Figure 11: Average climatic data at Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar stations (period 1988 - 2008).
Top: temperature. Middle: wind. Bottom: humidity. The vertical error bars indicate the statistical
standard deviation of daily data
Source: Regional Meteorological Centre, Kolkata

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Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment

Figure 12: Distribution of the average annual rainfall in the sub-watersheds, as represented in
SWAT (period 1998 - 2008)

3.4

Soils

3.4.a Sources
Five sources were used:

the scanned soil map of West Bengal prepared by the Indian National Bureau of Soil Survey and
Landuse Planning, courteously provided by the Indian Space Research Organisation;

general data on soil texture and fertility for Cooch Behar district, courteously provided by the
Principal Agricultural Officer, Cooch Behar;

the Harmonised World Soil Database which is an international database that combines regional
and national soil information worldwide (SOTER, ESD, Soil Map of China, WISE) with the information contained within the FAO-UNESCO Soil Map of the World (HWSD 2009);

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the qualitative description in Kundu and Soppe (2002);

and discussions with local soil scientists from the Agricultural University of Cooch Behar.

3.4.b Analysis
The soil map of West Bengal was clipped to the zone of the Jaldhaka watershed, georeferenced and
digitised in GIS (Figure 13). Unfortunately we did not have the detailed notice attached to the soil
map and only the brief qualitative information from the legend of the map was available (Table A.1,
Annex). Three topographical zones are defined in the soil map:

the mountainous soils, W001 to W004, shallow, coarse sandy loam,

soils in the piedmont, W006 to W008, deep, sandy loam to loam,

soils in the plain, W010 to W028, deep, sandy loam to silty loam.
The unit Riv additionally describes soils of the river beds.

Figure 13: The georeferenced soil map in the


region of the Jaldhaka watershed
Source: soil map of West Bengal, Indian National Bu-

Figure 14: The Harmonised World Soil


Database and its soil units in the region of the
Jaldhaka watershed.

reau of Soil Survey and Landuse Planning

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Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment

The soil spatial units defined by the HWSD in the region of the Jaldhaka watershed (Figure 14) are
those of the Digital Soil Map of the World, from the FAO-UNESCO. The HWSD reports additionally
some quantitative information from the WISE database (FAO/IIASA/ISRIC/ISS-CAS/JRC 2009), like
the textural percentage in sand, silt, clay (Table A.1 in Annex).
The information from the Principal Agricultural Officer, Cooch Behar, were used to interpret the
soil map (Table A.1, Annex). Local soil scientists indicated the same texture for these soils (Loamy
Sand) and insisted that generally the clay percentage is low. Kundu and Soppe (2002) report that the
mountainous soils (units W001 to W004) are sandy with high infiltration rates this information was
used while entering the soil data in SWATs database. They also mention that in the plains top-soils are
usually Sandy Loam with rather low infiltration rates and that there is a textural transition at about 50
cm in depth for a sandier sub-soil.
3.4.c Pcrocessing for modelling
The soil information had to be processed before entering it in SWAT. In particular, the qualitative
description had to be transformed into equivalent quantitative values for the soil database of SWAT.
The Table A.1 in Annex summarises the values entered in the soil database.
The textural percentages from HWSD were plotted in the United State Department of Agriculture soil textural triangle to check if they were in accordance with the information from the soil map
(Table A.1) and Kundu and Soppe (2002) (Figure 15). This was not the case as the top soils texture
from HWSD was finer (Loam) and sub soils were even finer instead of getting coarser. Corrections
were as follows:

For soils in mountainous regions (W001 to W004), the percentages of clay and silt from the
HWSD for top soils were too high while percentage for sand too low, hence 10 per cent was
deducted to the percentage of clay and silt and 20 per cent was added to the percentage in sand.
For sub-soils, original values from the HWSD were ignored and instead the corrected values of
top-soils were considered, reducing further the percentages of silt and clay in favour of the sand
content.

For soils in piedmont and plains (W006 to W028), the HWSD clay percentage for top soils were
too high (more than 20 per cent) compared to the information from local soil scientists, hence the
top soil textures of Loamy Sand units were modified by deducing 10 to the clay percentage and
adding it to the sand content; silt content was not modified. For the sub-soil, original values from
the HWSD were ignored as well and the textures were calculated by deducing 10 per cent and
5 per cent to the silt and clay content of the top soil, adding it to the sand percentage.

The corrected soil textures were indeed matching with description from the various sources (Figure
15). The texture of the unit Riv was not modified. Eventually the qualitative information of the soil
map (Figure 13) was translated into equivalent quantitative values using the HSWD and local soil
knowledge.
The soil hydrologic group, required by the ArcSWAT interface, was derived from the soil texture:

group A: coarse sandy loams, units W001, W002, W004 and Riv,

group B: fine sandy loams, units W003, W006, W008 to W025,

group C: loamy soils, units W007, W026 and W028.

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Top soil

Top soil

Original texture from the HWSD

Corrected texture

Sub soil

Sub soil

Original texture from the HWSD

Corrected texture

Figure 15: Plot in soil textural triangle of the United State Department of Agriculture

After the soil texture, another important soil characteristic in SWAT is the soil Available Water
Capacity (AWC, [L3/L3]). The HWSD provides approximate AWC but we preferred to enter values
considering the texture of each soil unit (Figure 15) and adapting the capacities advised by Kundu
and Soppe (2002). Moreover, there is a sort of continuity between of the soil AWC and the specific
yield used by the groundwater model. The value of specific yield was often 0.15 in the plain, less in
mountainous sub-watersheds and this was reflected in the AWC, as it will be detailed in section IV.1.d..
Ultimately:

unit Riv: top soil AWC = 0.08,

unit W001: top soil AWC = 0.10,

units W002 and W004: top soil AWC = 0.15, sub-soil AWC = 0.10,

units W003, W006, W008 to W025: top soil AWC = 0.20, sub-soil AWC = 0.15,

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Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment

units W007 and W026: top soil AWC = 0.25, sub-soil AWC = 0.20,

unit W028: top soil AWC = 0.30, sub-soil AWC = 0.25.

The soil depths were also specified combining the information from the soil map and Kundu and
Soppe (2002):

shallow soils: top soil 50 cm, no sub-soil,

moderate shallow: top soil 30 cm, sub-soil 70 cm,

deep: top soil 40 cm, sub soil 100 cm,

very deep: top soil 50 cm, sub-soil 200 cm.


The parameter SOL_ZMX was given the value of 300 cm.

The soil conductivity (SOL_K) was chosen with respect to the soil hydrologic group as advised by
Neitsch et al. (2010).
Finally, the soil map (Figure 13) was approximatively extended using the satellite imageries to cover
all the delineation of the watershed.

3.5

Groundwater data

3.5.a Source
Groundwater levels in the Indian part of the watershed, from Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar districts,
were obtained from two organisations (Table 5):

IWMI provided reading from the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB),

and the State Water Investigation Directorate (SWID) of West Bengal.

Table 5: Available measured groundwater levels in the Indian part of the watershed. CGWB
stands for Central Ground Water Board and SWID for State Water Investigation Directorate.
Monitoring
organisation

number of observation
wells
Total
Jaldhaka
watershed

period

Measurement frequency

Total

Jaldhaka
watershed

CGWB

49

12

1996
2006

1996
2006

Every 3 months

SWID

112

43

1988
2009

1994
2009

Every 3 months

3.5.b Analysis
These measurements are mainly located in the plain, with some few in the piedmont (Figure 16).
The spatial resolution of the measurement in the Indian part of the watershed is satisfactory with a
sufficient number of the observation wells. However, the time resolution is scattered as measurements
are not monthly but almost 3 months with some irregularities, hence we may miss some time variation
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Figure 16: Location of the observation wells for groundwater level measurement. CGWB stands
for Central Ground Water Board and SWID for State Water

of the groundwater levels. In particular we may not know exactly when the groundwater levels are the
deepest and the shallowest.
Leaving aside the groundwater system in the mountains upstream where no observations are available, the groundwater regime can be categorized in two categories: (i) in the plain downstream and
(ii) in the piedmont area middle stream. In the plain downstream, the aquifer system is alluvial and
composed of ancient sediments from succession of the Ganga Brahmaputra river systems (Kundu
and Soppe 2002; CGWB 2009). The groundwater levels are shallow. According to the scattered timeseries of groundwater levels, the water table is apparently deepest in April before the monsoon, fluctuating from 1 to 5 meter below ground level (mbgl), and shallowest in August during the monsoon,
fluctuating from 0 to 3 mbgl (Figure 17). Typical groundwater levels are those of wells PTC-25 and
PTC-9 (Figure 18).
In the piedmont area, the aquifer is composed of more recent sediments carried by the tributaries
from the mountainous upstream areas (Kundu and Soppe 2002; CGWB 2009). The groundwater levels are also shallow, although some wells show deeper level. The levels are apparently the deepest
between February to April before the monsoon, fluctuating from 2 to 15 mbgl, and the shallowest in
August during the monsoon, fluctuating from 1 to 11 mbgl (Figure 17). Typical groundwater levels are
those of wells D-10 and D-12 (Figure 18).
Watershed-wise, the average groundwater level is between 2 to 4 mbgl (Figure 17). The last 16 years
of the groundwater levels time-series show little inter-annual water table fluctuations (Figure 17 and
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Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment

Source: Central Groundwater Board (CGWB)

Source: State Water Investigation Directorate (SWID)

Figure 17: Measured groundwater levels in the Jaldhaka watershed. In pale: level of different
wells. In black: average of all the wells

In piedmont

In plain

In piedmont

In plain

Figure 18: Typical groundwater levels in the Jaldhaka watershed. The wells are located on Figure
16. The vertical error bars indicate the statistical standard deviation
Source of data: State Water Investigation Directorate (SWID)

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Figure 18): there is no noticeable trend to increase or to decrease, i.e., watershed-wise the groundwater levels have been stable during the period 1994 2009. This is consistent with observations from
Shamsudduha et al. (2009).
Interpolation of observed groundwater piezometric levels in India using the Inverse Distance
Squared Weighting method shows that the levels follow the topography, which is expected for an alluvial aquifer system (Figure 19). The gradient is along the North to South orientation and direction in
piedmont region and changes towards the South East in the plain. The groundwater flow is therefore
in the same orientation and direction of the surface water and converges towards plains in Bangladesh,
in particular towards the Brahmaputra river. This is again consistent with Shamsudduha et al. (2009).
If we compare the cases when the available observed piezometric levels are the shallowest (August)
versus the deepest (April), there is a general shift of the contours along the flow direction, i.e., the
topography, but the relative distribution does not change significantly.
3.5.c Pre-processing
The dataset from SWID contained more measurements than the one from CGWB (Figure 17), hence
only readings from SWID were considered afterwards. Moreover the groundwater model focused on
the wells located within the watershed, which amounted to 33 wells.

3.6

Land-use

A high spatial resolution landuse map of the Jaldhaka was generated within the context of the AgWater
Solution Project. Satellites images were acquired and we contributed to the development of the landuse map by conducting the groundtruthing and helping in the landuse classification.

Figure 19: Interpolation of average piezometric levels observed by the State Water Investigation
Directorate (SWID) (period 1994 - 2009).
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Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment

3.6.a Satellite images


Six images from the Advanced Visible and Near Infrared Radiometer type 2 (AVNIR-2) aboard the
Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) were acquired by IWMI. The images are of 10 m spatial
resolution and have four bands, three in visible and one in near infrared. The images do not cover the
Jaldhaka watershed completely (Figure 20). The six images were for two locations with three replications for each location. The purpose of having multiple images from different seasons is to enable to
better extract crop type and rotation information (Cai, personal communication, 2010).
Among the three dates, October (31/10/2008) have the clearest views. The two views of January
(31/01/2009) are slightly hazy while views of March (i) are from different dates (15/03/2008 and
18/03/2009) and (ii) there is a spatial discrepancy between both views. This combination of dates was
representative of the year 2008 and thus an additional difficulty was that groundtruthing was carriedout in April 2010, at a date different to the satellite images.
3.6.b Groundtruthing
Before the field work, a draft unsupervised classification was produced on a southern view, to choose
the location the groundtruthing (GT) sites (Figure 21). In total, 90 GT sites were visited in April 2010
and two types of observations were carried-out:

precise in 40 (GT points 1 to 40) of these sites,

brief in the remaining 50 sites (GT points 41 to 90).

Taking inspiration from Cai and Sharma (2010), a GT form pertaining to the vegetation distribution
and the crop system (sequence, growing period etc.) was prepared. The choices of the sites were as
follows (Figure 21):

Date North view: 31/01/2009

Date North view: 15/03/2008

Date North view: 31/10/2008

Date South view: 31/01/2009

Date South view: 18/03/2009

Date South view: 31/10/2008

Figure 20: Satellite images acquired for high resolution landuse mapping. Note the demarcation
between the north and south view

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Figure 21: Location of the groundtruthing sites visited in April 2010 and draft unsupervised
classification of the landuse. Right: zoom on the transect (note on this view the discrepancy

location of sites was decided in the field while driving on roads referring (i) downstream to the
different classes of the unsupervised classification and (ii) upstream to the visible landuse as
observed on original satellite image and GoogleEarth,

sites were visited while walking along a transect of about 8.5 km; this transect was chosen on the
draft classification so as to be representative of the downstream part of the watershed.

Precise observations meant a 360 assessment of the land cover (e.g., urban, natural vegetation,
agricultural land) and interview of farmers on the spot to distinguish the cropping systems within agricultural lands. Two local field assistants helped for the survey by interviewing farmers and filling the
form. An example of this form is shown in Figure A.1 (Annex).
Brief observations were quick observation without stopping the car, noting the main land cover categories (e.g., forest, settlement, light forest, tea plantation, agricultural land). Some photos of different
landuse are placed in Figure 24.
The distribution of GT sites is greater middle and downstream as the draft classification was only
available for this part. This is acceptable as most of the agricultural land lies in this part of the watershed.
From the GT observations, main cropping sequences were identified (Table 10). The cropping calendar of these sequences is illustrated on Figure 22.
3.6.c Generation of the landuse map
The landuse map was generated in collaboration with IWMI. The first task was to geo-rectify the
satellites as some gaps have been observed as compared to GPS measurements. The GIS / remote
sensing expert from IWMI ran an unsupervised classification on two separate sets: the first set containing the 3 northern views and the second set containing the 3 southern views. The advantage of
processing separately images of different seasons is the changes in vegetation conditions across both
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Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment

Rainfed Monsoon_Rice

Jute

Rainfed Monsoon_Rice

Rainfed Monsoon_Rice
Jute

Pre-monsoon_Rice

Irrigated Monsoon_Rice

Irrigated Monsoon_Rice
Pre-monsoon_Rice

Jute

Irrigated Monsoon_Rice

Potato

Summer_Rice

Wheat

Rainfed Monsoon_Rice

Potato

Irrigated Monsoon_Rice
Potato
Jute

Irrigated Monsoon_Rice

Irrigated Monsoon_Rice
Summer_Rice

Irrigated Monsoon_Rice

Irrigated Monsoon_Rice
Wheat

Month

10

11

12

Figure 22: Calendar of the main cropping sequences in the Jaldhaka watershed

views (mainly crops) are taken into account while the pixels are clustered. The northern and southern
classifications created each 20 classes (Cai, personal communication, 2010).
As this study focuses primarily on agricultural land, IWMIs GIS / remote sensing expert tried to
identify crop types as well as crop rotations. Temporal spectral changes of each agricultural class were
analysed and the trend in vegetation development was assessed. They were then compared to the crop
calendar (Table 10) to match with dominant crop types. GT points and Google Earth were used for to
aid crop type determinations (Cai, personal communication, 2010). The fact that groundtruthing was
conducted at a date different from the original satellite images hindered the classification.
This generated 40 classes: 20 for the northern view and another 20 for the southern view. In an
attempt to validate, this classification was queried in a buffer of about 100 m radius around each GT
location and extracted landuse was compared with GT observations. Discrepancies were important
with, for instance, an over-representation of Wheat, an under-representation of Jute and the absence
of a category for towns. Hence we tried to reduce the number of classes and enhance their representativeness by:

merging equivalent northern and southern classes,

using Google Earth to recognise the GT observations and associate them with classification clusters,

differentiate more precisely Tea from Shrublands,

creating manually a new class for towns.

26

Stockholm Environment Institute

Eventually, a high resolution (10 m) landuse map with 11 classes representative of the year 2008
was generated (Figure 23):

8 classes for non-agricultural lands with in particular three categories of habitation zones, from
the smallest to the largest: (i) settlements, with few habitations around trees, (ii) villages with a
greater number of habitations and sparse vegetation and (iii) towns with urbanised areas,

and 3 categories of agricultural practices:


- Monsoon_Rice [Pre-monsoon_Rice], i.e., Monsoon_Rice possibly followed by Premonsoon_Rice,
- Monsoon_Rice [Winter Crop] [Jute or Pre-monsoon_Rice], i.e., Monsoon_Rice, possibly followed by a Winter Crop, possibly followed by Jute or Pre-monsoon_Rice,
- Monsoon_Rice [Winter Crop] Summer_Rice, i.e., Monsoon_Rice, possibly followed
by a Winter Crop, followed by Summer_Rice.

Locally, the monsoon, summer and pre-monsoon rices are called Aman, Boro and Aus respectively.
The schedule of each crop is placed in Figure 22. The photos taken at the locations identified on the
Figure 23 are placed in Figure 24.

Figure 23: High resolution (10 m) landuse map of the Jaldhaka watershed (year 2008).
Photos of the identified observation sites are placed in Figure 24.

27

Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment


Table 6: Distribution of the landuse categories (Figure 23) within the Jaldhaka watershed.
Landuse category

Area
(km)

( per cent)

Forest

740

16.2

Tea or Light Forest

510

11.1

Small Trees or Shrubland or Settlement

786

17.2

Monsoon_Rice > [Pre-monsoon_Rice]

174

3.8

Monsoon_Rice > [Winter Crop] > [Jute or Pre-monsoon_Rice]

1,356

29.6

Monsoon_Rice > [Winter Crop] > Summer_Rice

309

6.8

Village or Fallow

254

5.6

Town

0.2

Water

104

2.3

River bed

182

4.0

Cloud

151

3.3

Total

4,574

100.0

Figure 24: Photos of the spots identified on the landuse map (Figure 23)

3.6.d Processing for modelling


The landuse map (Figure 23) cannot be used as such by the interface ArcSWAT as its cloud category
has to be replaced by a relevant landuse and it does not cover all of the watershed. The cloud category
was replaced referring to the landcover visible on Google Earth, ie., generally Forest upstream in Bhutan and Monsoon_Rice [Winter Crop] [Jute or Pre-monsoon_Rice] in India and Bangladesh.
Before extending the landuse map to part of the watershed not covered, as the category River bed is
a mixture of sand and gravels bare soil class (visible on satellite images) where hardly any vegetation
grows, it cannot be matched to a SWAT land use class, hence River bed was replaced by the category
Water. Finally, the map was extended using Google Earth and matching with the soil map:

28

Stockholm Environment Institute

upstream it was expanded as Forest,

while downstream it was a mixture of Monsoon_Rice > [Winter Crop] > Summer_Rice, Monsoon_Rice > [Winter Crop] > [Jute or Pre-monsoon_Rice] and Water.

As the GIS raster of the landuse map was to be processed by ArcSWAT, the raster was matched spatially with the DEM, which is the fundamental GIS information for ArcSWAT. This implied in particular that the spatial resolution of the enlarged landuse map (10 m) was downgraded to 90 m.
The resulting landuse map is placed in Figure 25 and the tabulated areas are in Table 7: these are
the landuse information eventually entered in SWAT. We defined 9 landuse categories for SWAT (e.g.,
FRSJ for Forest, AAAJ for Monsoon_Rice [Pre-monsoon_Rice]) that were associated to a crop/
vegetation of SWATs database. The agricultural units AAAJ, AWJJ and AWBJ were generic crop
classes, their associated crop sequences, that will be presented in section III.7., were entered in SWAT
at a later stage, while defining SWATs management tables (section IV.1.b.).

3.7

Agricultural

3.7.a Sources
Data on crop yields, area extent and productivity were obtained from 3 sources (Table 8):

the website of the Development & Planning Department - West Bengal (DPDWB 2005)

the Bureau of Applied Economics and Statistics, Kolkata, India,

Figure 25: Modified version of the landuse map (Figure 23, year 2008) entered in SWAT (90 m
resolution)
29

Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment


Table 7: Distribution of the landuse categories entered in SWAT (Figure 25).
Landuse category

In
SWAT

Area
(km)

(%)

Forest

FRSJ

1338

23.1

Tea or Light Forest

TEAB

510

8.8

Small Trees or Shrubland or Settlement

FRMJ

785

13.5

Monsoon_Rice > [Pre-monsoon_Rice]

AAAJ

174

3.0

Monsoon_Rice > [Winter Crop] > [Jute or Pre-monsoon_


Rice]

AWJJ

1,841

31.8

Monsoon_Rice > [Winter Crop] > Summer_Rice

AWBJ

342

5.9

Village or Fallow

VIFA

256

4.4

Town

URMD

0.1

Water

WATR

541

9.3

5,795

100.0

Total

Table 8: Available agricultural statistics.


Source

Timeperiod

Spatial resolution

variables

crops

Development
& Planning
Department West Bengal

2003
2004

Administrative Blocks
of Cooch Behar and
Jalpaiguri districts

Area,
Yield,
Production

Monsoon_Rice, Pre-monsoon_Rice, Summer_Rice,


Potato, Jute, Wheat, various pulses

Bureau of
Applied Economics and
Statistics

1988
2009

Administrative Blocks
of Cooch Behar and
Jalpaiguri districts

Area,
Yield,
Production

Monsoon_Rice, Pre-monsoon_Rice, Summer_Rice,


Jute, Wheat, Maize, various pulses

Directorate of
Agriculture

1998
2009

Administrative Blocks
of Cooch Behar and
Jalpaiguri districts

Area,
Yield,
Production

Potato

and the Directorate of Agriculture, Kolkata, India.

Additionally, typical crop growing seasons were noted during the field work described in section III.6.b. (Figure 22) and are reported in Table 10.
3.7.b Analysis
The major crops in the region of the Jaldhaka watershed are (Figure 22):

Summer_Rice, called locally Boro: irrigated rice grown before the onset of the monsoon, from
February to May.

Pre-monsoon_Rice, called locally Aus: partly irrigated rice grown at the onset of the monsoon,
from April to June.

30

Stockholm Environment Institute

Monsoon_Rice, called locally Aman: rice grown during the rain season, from June/July to September/October, rainfed or partly irrigated depending on the case.

Jute: rainfed vegetable fibre grown at the onset of the monsoon, from April to June.

Winter Crop: irrigated crop following the rain season, which is Potato (predominantly), Tobacco
or Vegetables, from November to February; from now we will consider this crop to be Potato.

Wheat: irrigated during winter, from January to April.

The irrigation schedule of these crops are described in the following section III.8.. Although Tobacco
is an important cash crop in the watershed, in particular in Cooch Behar district, no data could be gathered as this crop is not monitored by governmental organisations. The data from the Development &
Planning Department - West Bengal were ignored as these were only for the year 2003/04, however
their utility were to assure the homogeneity with statistics from the Bureau of Applied Economics and
Statistics and the Directorate of Agriculture.
Area and yield of these crops during the period 1998 2008 in the administrative block containing
the Jaldhaka watershed is shown on Figures 26and 27. There is a gap in the data from the Bureau of
Applied Economics and Statistics for the years 2001/02. A striking feature is that the area under Monsoon_Rice is much greater than the other cultivations and is quite stable. The tendency for area under
Pre-monsoon_Rice was to gently decrease while potato to increase. The area under Summer_Rice
increased sharply in the recent years in the administrative blocks located downstream. Extent of Jute
and Wheat cultivation is relatively stable with a small area under Wheat as compared with the other
crops. Among the yields, those of Potato are the most varying.
The average crop yields in the watershed for the period 1998 2009 is estimated by calculating the
average yields of the administrative blocks containing the watershed (Table 9). It is noteworthy that
the yield of Summer_Rice is greater than Monsoon_Rice and Pre-monsoon_Rice. The agricultural statistics obtained for rice from the Bureau of Applied Economics and Statistics were in two parts: one for
the period 1998/99 2003/04, which only mentioned for the rice the clean yield, and another for the
period 2004/05 to 2008/09, which mentioned for the rice the dry yield and clean yield. Hence only the
clean rice yield was available throughout the period 1998 2009 but the dry yield was also reported in
Table 9 as it was required to compare with SWATs outputs (cf. section IV.2.f.).
3.7.c Processing for modelling
We derived typical cropping sequences that will be considered in SWAT (Figure 22 and Table 10)
from (i) observations during the landuse groundtruthing (cf. section III.6.b.), (ii) Participatory GIS
Table 9: Average yields in the administrative blocks containing the Jaldhaka watershed, period
1998 2008. In bracket the average dry yield of rice for period 2004 to 2008. Source of data:
Bureau of Applied Economics and Statistics and Directorate of Agriculture.
Monsoon rice
(Aman)
clean yield
(T/ha)

pre-monsoon rice
(Aus)
clean yield
(T/ha)

Summer rice
(boro)
clean yield
(T/ha)

Jute
Dry yield
(T/ha)

Wheat
Dry yield
(T/ha)

potato
yield
(T/ha)

1.5 (2.4)

1.4 (2.0)

2.2 (2.9)

1.9

1.8

18.8

31

Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment

35

35

Area (1,000 ha)

25
20
15
10
5

25
20
15
10
5
0

98-99 99-00 00-01 01-02 02-03 03-04 04-05 05-06 06-07 07-08 08-09

98-99 99-00 00-01 01-02 02-03 03-04 04-05 05-06 06-07 07-08 08-09

Years

Years

Pre-monsoon_Rice (a.k.a. Aus)

Monsoon_Rice (a.k.a. Aman)

35

35

Area (1,000 ha)

25
20
15
10
5
0

Rajganj
Mal
Matiali
Nagrakata
Madarihar
Kalchine
Kumargram
Alipuduar I
Alipuduar II
Falakata
Dhupguri
Mainaguri
Mekhliganj
Mathabhanga I
Mathabhanga II
Cooch Behar I
Dinhata I
Dinhata II
Sitai
Sitalkuchi

30
25

Area (1,000 ha)

Rajganj
Mal
Matiali
Nagrakata
Madarihar
Kalchine
Kumargram
Alipuduar I
Alipuduar II
Falakata
Dhupguri
Mainaguri
Mekhliganj
Mathabhanga I
Mathabhanga II
Cooch Behar I
Dinhata I
Dinhata II
Sitai
Sitalkuchi

30

20
15
10
5
0

98-99 99-00 00-01 01-02 02-03 03-04 04-05 05-06 06-07 07-08 08-09

98-99 99-00 00-01 01-02 02-03 03-04 04-05 05-06 06-07 07-08 08-09

Years

Jute

Summer_Rice (a.k.a. Boro)


35

Years

35

25
20
15
10
5
0

98-99 99-00 00-01 01-02 02-03 03-04 04-05 05-06 06-07 07-08 08-09

Wheat

Years

Rajganj
Mal
Matiali
Nagrakata
Madarihar
Kalchine
Kumargram
Alipuduar I
Alipuduar II
Falakata
Dhupguri
Mainaguri
Mekhliganj
Mathabhanga I
Mathabhanga II
Cooch Behar I
Dinhata I
Dinhata II
Sitai
Sitalkuchi

30
25

Area (1,000 ha)

Rajganj
Mal
Matiali
Nagrakata
Madarihar
Kalchine
Kumargram
Alipuduar I
Alipuduar II
Falakata
Dhupguri
Mainaguri
Mekhliganj
Mathabhanga I
Mathabhanga II
Cooch Behar I
Dinhata I
Dinhata II
Sitai
Sitalkuchi

30

Area (1,000 ha)

Rajganj
Mal
Matiali
Nagrakata
Madarihar
Kalchine
Kumargram
Alipuduar I
Alipuduar II
Falakata
Dhupguri
Mainaguri
Mekhliganj
Mathabhanga I
Mathabhanga II
Cooch Behar I
Dinhata I
Dinhata II
Sitai
Sitalkuchi

30

Area (1,000 ha)

Rajganj
Mal
Matiali
Nagrakata
Madarihar
Kalchine
Kumargram
Alipuduar I
Alipuduar II
Falakata
Dhupguri
Mainaguri
Mekhliganj
Mathabhanga I
Mathabhanga II
Cooch Behar I
Dinhata I
Dinhata II
Sitai
Sitalkuchi

30

20
15
10
5
0

98-99 99-00 00-01 01-02 02-03 03-04 04-05 05-06 06-07 07-08 08-09

Potato

Years

Figure 26: Area of the major crops in administrative blocks containing the Jaldhaka watershed
Source of data: Bureau of Applied Economics and Statistics and Directorate of Agriculture

32

Stockholm Environment Institute

Clean rice yield (T/ha)

3.5
3.0
2.5

Average of administrative
blocks in the Watershed

2.0
1.5
1.0
0.5
0.0

Watershed
Rajganj
Mal
Matiali
Nagrakata
Madarihar
Kalchine
Kumargram
Alipuduar I
Alipuduar II
Falakata
Dhupguri
Mainaguri
Mekhliganj
Mathabhanga I
Mathabhanga II
Cooch Behar I
Dinhata I
Dinhata II
Sitai
Sitalkuchi

4.0
3.5

Clean rice yield (T/ha)

4.0

3.0
2.5
2.0
1.5
1.0
0.5
0.0

98-99 99-00 00-01 01-02 02-03 03-04 04-05 05-06 06-07 07-08 08-09

98-99 99-00 00-01 01-02 02-03 03-04 04-05 05-06 06-07 07-08 08-09

Years

Years

Monsoon_Rice (a.k.a. Aman)

Clean rice yield (T/ha)

3.5
3.0
2.5
2.0
1.5
1.0
0.5

Average of administrative
blocks in the Watershed

0.0

Pre-monsoon_Rice (a.k.a. Aus)


Watershed
Rajganj
Mal
Matiali
Nagrakata
Madarihar
Kalchine
Kumargram
Alipuduar I
Alipuduar II
Falakata
Dhupguri
Mainaguri
Mekhliganj
Mathabhanga I
Mathabhanga II
Cooch Behar I
Dinhata I
Dinhata II
Sitai
Sitalkuchi

4.0
3.5
3.0

Dry yield (T/ha)

4.0

2.5
2.0
1.5
1.0
0.5

Years

Summer_Rice (a.k.a. Boro)

2.5
2.0
1.5
1.0
0.5

Average of administrative
blocks in the Watershed

0.0

98-99 99-00 00-01 01-02 02-03 03-04 04-05 05-06 06-07 07-08 08-09

Wheat

Years

Jute
Watershed
Rajganj
Mal
Matiali
Nagrakata
Madarihar
Kalchine
Kumargram
Alipuduar I
Alipuduar II
Falakata
Dhupguri
Mainaguri
Mekhliganj
Mathabhanga I
Mathabhanga II
Cooch Behar I
Dinhata I
Dinhata II
Sitai
Sitalkuchi

40
35
30
25

Yield (T/ha)

Dry yield (T/ha)

3.0

Watershed
Rajganj
Mal
Matiali
Nagrakata
Madarihar
Kalchine
Kumargram
Alipuduar I
Alipuduar II
Falakata
Dhupguri
Mainaguri
Mekhliganj
Mathabhanga I
Mathabhanga II
Cooch Behar I
Dinhata I
Dinhata II
Sitai
Sitalkuchi

98-99 99-00 00-01 01-02 02-03 03-04 04-05 05-06 06-07 07-08 08-09

Years

3.5

Average of administrative
blocks in the Watershed

0.0

98-99 99-00 00-01 01-02 02-03 03-04 04-05 05-06 06-07 07-08 08-09

4.0

Average of administrative
blocks in the Watershed

Watershed
Rajganj
Mal
Matiali
Nagrakata
Madarihar
Kalchine
Kumargram
Alipuduar I
Alipuduar II
Falakata
Dhupguri
Mainaguri
Mekhliganj
Mathabhanga I
Mathabhanga II
Cooch Behar I
Dinhata I
Dinhata II
Sitai
Sitalkuchi

20
15
10
5

Average of administrative
blocks in the Watershed

Watershed
Rajganj
Mal
Matiali
Nagrakata
Madarihar
Kalchine
Kumargram
Alipuduar I
Alipuduar II
Falakata
Dhupguri
Mainaguri
Mekhliganj
Mathabhanga I
Mathabhanga II
Cooch Behar I
Dinhata I
Dinhata II
Sitai
Sitalkuchi

98-99 99-00 00-01 01-02 02-03 03-04 04-05 05-06 06-07 07-08 08-09

Potato

Years

Figure 27: Yield of the major crops in administrative blocks containing the Jaldhaka watershed.
Mind the different vertical scale
Source of data: Bureau of Applied Economics and Statistics and Directorate of Agriculture

33

Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment


Table 10: Typical cropping sequences and associated irrigation schedules in the Jaldhaka
watershed.
Irrigation
duration
(days)

chosen
irrigation
events

cropping systems

Landuse
category
in
SWAT

Start

End

Growing
days

Total
pumped
(mm)

Rainfed
Monsoon_
Rice

AAAJ
and
AWJJ

June

September

122

Rainfed
Monsoon_
Rice

AAAJ
and
AWJJ

July

October

123

April

June

91

July

October

123

247

100

12 mm
every 5
days

April

June

91

617

80

15 mm
every 2
days

July

October

123

247

100

12 mm
every 5
days

Potato

November

February

120

247

100

10 mm
every 4
days

Jute

April

June

91

June

September

122

247

100

12 mm
every 5
days

February

May

120

1,233

100

25 mm
every 2
days

January

April

120

247

100

12 mm
every 5
days

June

September

122

247

100

12 mm
every 5
days

Jute
Irrigated
Monsoon_
Rice

AAAJ
and
AWJJ

Pre-monsoon_
Rice
Irrigated
Monsoon_
Rice

Irrigated
Monsoon_
Rice

AAAJ
and
AWJJ

AWBJ

Summer_
Rice
Wheat

Irrigated
Monsoon_
Rice

34

AAAJ
and
AWJJ

100

Stockholm Environment Institute

(PGIS) analysis conducted by SEI (de Bruin et al. 2010) and (iii) the landuse map (Figure 25). The
irrigation of these sequences will be explained in the forthcoming section III.8.
The next critical steps was to estimate the area of each cropping sequences from the agricultural statistics at administrative block level. These areas were indeed used prior to the modelling to differentiate the agricultural units AAAJ and AWJJ of the landuse map (Figure 25); the unit AWBJ was assigned
the sequence Irrigated Monsoon_Rice - Summer_Rice, hence no winter crop was eventually supposed
to grown in this unit. As the area growing Monsoon_Rice is much greater than the other crops (Figure
26), we took the assumption that all the fields of units AAAJ and AWJJ grow Monsoon_Rice during
the rain season, which may be followed by fallow or crop(s). We did as follows in each administrative
block:

We calculated the average area of each crops (i.e., Monsoon_Rice, Pre-monsoon_Rice, Summer_Rice, Jute, Wheat, Maize, various pulses, Potato) over the last 5 years.

The areas of Maize and various pulses were small, hence Maize was combined with Wheat and
various pluses with Potato (approximative same growing season).

As this differentiation concerns units AAAJ and AWJJ, where there is no Summer_Rice, for each
administrative block we subtracted to the Monsoon_Rice area the Summer_Rice extent.

We took the additional assumption that each cropping sequence introduced in Table 10 are distinct, hence the area calculate in step 3 is composed of all the cropping sequences defined in Table
10, except Irrigated Monsoon_Rice - Summer_Rice.

We expressed the area growing Pre-monsoon_Rice, Jute, Wheat and Potato (calculated in step 1
& 2) as a percentage of Monsoon_Rices area estimated in step 3. This percentage was always less
than 100 per cent.

Then it was decided to distribute the cropping sequences as follows:


Area ( per cent) of...

was equal to...

Irrigated Monsoon_Rice Winter Crop


Jute

Percentage of Potato computed in step 5

Irrigated Monsoon_Rice Wheat

Percentage of Wheat computed in step 5

Irrigated Monsoon_Rice Pre-monsoon_


Rice

Percentage of Pre-monsoon_Rice computed in step


5

Rainfed Monsoon_Rice Jute

Maximum [0,Percentage of Pre-monsoon_Rice computed in step 5 - percentage of Irrigated Monsoon_


Rice Winter Crop Jute]

Rainfed Monsoon_Rice

Remaining to 100 per cent

Subsequent to this allocation per administrative block, the percentages were proportionally distributed per sub-watersheds (Table 11). It is reminded that these shares concern SWATs landuse units
AAAJ and AWJJ, and that the unit AWBJ was assigned the sequence Irrigated Monsoon_Rice Summer_Rice. This table is indicative as the distribution actually considered during the modelling depends
on the spatial discretisation in SWAT (cf. forthcoming section IV.1.b.). Referring to the agricultural
statistics (Figure 26), Rainfed Monsoon_Rice is logically the predominant cropping sequence, fol35

Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment

lowed by Irrigated Monsoon_Rice Potato Jute. Table 11 was utilised while determining SWATs
management table (cf. section IV.1.b.).
The last step of the crop / landuse processing was to define the relevant SWAT crop / vegetation
parameters. The Table A.2 (Annex) summarises the value of the crop parameters of the landuse map.
Except for rice, we created a specific category for the vegetation of the Jaldhaka watershed from an
existing category of the SWAT database, modifying some parameters as mentioned in the Table A.2 :

Large trees (FRSJ): we created from the existing SWAT class Forest-Evergreen, modifying the
optimal temperature from 30 to 25C and the maximum height from 10 to 15 m.

Tea (TEAB): from Range-Brush, modifying the maximum LAI from 2 to 3 (cf.http://www.gisdevelopment.net/application/agriculture/yield/rishpf.htm). We used the defaults crop parameters for rice,
the minimum LAI from 0 to 0.7 as its a perennial crop, the maximum root depth from 2 to 1 m.
Table 11: Indicative distribution per sub-watershed of the cropping sequences within the landuse
units AAAJ and AWJJ. Derived with data from the Bureau of Applied Economics and Statistics and
the Directorate of Agriculture.
Subwatershed

Rainfed
Monsoon_
Rice

Irrigated
Monsoon_
Rice premonsoon_
Rice

Rainfed
Monsoon_
Rice Jute

Irrigated
Monsoon_Rice
potato
Jute

Irrigated
Monsoon_Rice
Wheat

55%

7%

0%

16%

22%

46%

11%

0%

23%

20%

39%

18%

0%

30%

13%

18%

27%

0%

38%

17%

11%

35%

0%

25%

29%

7%

34%

0%

38%

21%

37%

16%

1%

34%

12%

49%

19%

0%

22%

10%

53%

12%

5%

20%

9%

10

35%

19%

0%

33%

11%

11

61%

7%

1%

25%

6%

12

53%

11%

8%

19%

9%

13

53%

10%

13%

17%

7%

14

52%

10%

19%

12%

7%

15

55%

10%

1%

27%

8%

16

39%

5%

12%

33%

11%

17

52%

18%

7%

14%

10%

18

39%

5%

12%

33%

11%

Watershed

43%

15%

5%

25%

12%

36

Stockholm Environment Institute

Medium trees (FRMJ): from the Large trees category above, reducing the maximum LAI from 5 to
4, the maximum root depth from 3.5 to 2 m, the maximum height from 15 to 10 and the optimal temperature from 25 to 30C as these trees are more in the plains.
Potato and Wheat: from Potato and Spring Wheat, adjusting the temperature factors to match with
the Jaldhaka region.
Jute: no matching crop was found hence the Jute class was created from the generic agricultural
class, taking a maximum LAI equal to 5 (its a leafy crop) and maximum root depth equal to 1 m.
The last parameter to be estimated for the agricultural crops (non perennial) was the total heat units
required for plant maturity (PHU) [C] defined as (S. L. Neitsch et al. 2005):
(9)

calculated over the growing period, where Ti [C] is the average daily temperature and Tbase [C] is
the plant base temperature. PHU was assessed using average temperature from the two local meteorological stations (cf. section III.3.) and the crop growing periods (Table 10).

3.8

Irrigation

3.8.a Sources
There were three sources of data. The first was Mukherji (2007) which provides typical duration
of pumping for Summer_Rice, Monsoon_Rice and Potato, from diesel pumps (Table 12). The author
coined these figures by conducting field works in various region of West Bengal, in particular in Cooch
Behar district.
The second source was DPDWB (2005) which identifies the source of water for irrigation in each
administrative blocks for year 2004/5 (Table A.3, Annex). The third source was the irrigation frequency per crop (Table 10) obtained during the groundtruthing field work for landuse mapping (cf.
section III.6.b.).
3.8.b Analysis
Participatory GIS analysis conducted by SEI within the AgWater Solution Project in the downstream
part of the Jaldhaka watershed (de Bruin et al. 2010) reveals that farmers largely pump groundwater
with diesel pumps from shallow tubewells. Figures from DPDWB (2005) confirm this characteristic and more precisely that (i) the main source for irrigation is groundwater pumped from shallow
tubewells and (ii) this is especially true in Cooch Behar district, where lies the downstream part of
the watershed. According to this same reference, the next irrigation source is deep tubewells but the
statistics for this category seem suspicious if the number is deep tubewells is compared with the area
these wells are supposed to irrigate; hence we ignored this category. The following irrigation source is
surface water, from canals or river lifts, especially in Jalpaiguri district, where lies the upstream and
middlestream part of the watershed. It is noteworthy that there is schematically a spatial differentiation
of irrigation source in the watershed:

the upstream and middlestream part of the watershed mainly irrigates from surface water source,
more precisely by diverting and lifting the river (canals and river lift);

37

Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment

while the downstream part uses mainly groundwater (diesel pumps with shallow tubewells).

3.8.c Processing for modelling


We considered two types of Monsoon_Rice cultivation: rainfed Monsoon_Rice when Monsoon_
Rice is not followed by any crop or is preceded by Jute, and irrigated Monsoon_Rice when it is followed by a crop which is irrigated: if there is a provision for irrigating winter or summer crop, we
supposed this same facility is used to partly irrigate the Monsoon_Rice. We assessed the irrigation
requirement of the crops Summer_Rice, Potato and Irrigated Monsoon_Rice in Table 12. We assumed
that the requirement for Pre-monsoon_Rice is half of Summer_Rice and that of Wheat is the same as
Potato or Irrigated Monsoon_Rice. Using the irrigation frequencies and crops growing period noted
during field works, we derived in Table 10 the irrigation requirement for each crop identified in the landuse map (Figure 25). Figure 28 shows the scaling of the crops with respect to irrigation requirement.
After assessing irrigation requirement, we had to distribute the source of irrigation water, whether
it is from diversion of the river or groundwater pumping. We used the values from DPDWB (2005).
As (i) these figures for source of irrigation water are for year 2004/5, (ii) assessing areas under surface
irrigation is perhaps more precise than those under groundwater and (iii) total irrigated area is expected
to vary from year to year, we only considered the areas for surface sources (canal, tank, river lift),
agglomerated them and assumed that the total area irrigated from surface sources did not vary since
2004/5. The spatially proportionate values calculated per sub-watersheds (Table 13) are indicative as
the areas actually considered in SWAT depend on the landuse map (Figure 25) and the spatial discretisation in SWAT (cf. forthcoming section IV.1.c.). As Summer_Rice is an irrigated crop, the variation
of its area provides an indication of irrigation trends in the watershed. The last 10 years agricultural
statistics show a trend to increase and this change in irrigated area is supposed to be due to the variation in number of shallow tubewells. From now we only used this indicative dataset for assessing the
Table 12: Estimated irrigation per crop. Sources of data: groundwater pumping duration from
Mukherji (2007) and diesel pump discharge from TERI (2007)
crop

Groundwater pumping
duration (hr/
bigaa)

Diesel pump
discharge
(m3/hr)

Total groundwater irrigation (m3/ha)

Total groundwater irrigation (mm)

Summer_Rice

55

30

12,334

1,233

Potato

11

30

2,467

247

Irrigated Monsoon_Rice

11

30

2,467

247

a 1 biga ~ 0.134 ha

Table 13: Indicative areas irrigated from surface sources in each sub-watershed, derived from
DPDWB (2005) for year 2004/5
Sub-watershed
Area (ha)

Sub-watershed
Area (ha)
38

5,030

1,531

482

6,187

3,532

1,105

1,789

1,176

1,551

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

1,481

282

1,991

3,224

771

1,451

55

721

1,466

Stockholm Environment Institute

irrigated areas under surface water source, the remaining irrigated area assumed to be irrigated from
groundwater (cf. section IV.1.c.). Table 16 summarises the figures eventually considered in SWAT.
Table 13 was used with Table 10 while defining SWATs management tables (forthcoming section IV.1.b.).

39

Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment

MoDELLInG SET Up

4.1

Initial setting of SWAT

4.1.a Generation of the HRUs


The Hydrologic Response Units (HRUs) were generated with the ArcSWAT interface in two stages.
In the first stage, ArcSWAT intersects the GIS layers of the sub-watersheds, landuse, soil and slopeclasses. The first GIS layers were those were presented above, in particular the landuse of Figure 25.
The map of slope classes is created by ArcSWAT after the user enters the desired slope classes. Referring to the three typical topographical regions of the watershed and the histogram of Figure 4, the following 3 classes were selected:

[0 3 per cent] or [0 1.7],

[3 43 per cent] or [1.7 23.3],

and greater than 43 per cent or 23.3.

As this first step generates a large number of geographical entities (Table 14), the second step aims
to remove small units for computational efficiency. The user enters a threshold for landuse, soil and
slope-classes and the simplification is done per sub-watershed: if in a given sub-watershed the coverage of a unit of landuse, soil or slope-classes is less than the associated threshold (for landuse, soil or
slope-classes), ArcSWAT ignores the geometrical features generated with this unit in the first step in
the considered sub-watershed. As explained by Romanowicz et al (2005), a disadvantage of this simplification is the loss of spatial information which are:

small in extent but has a singular characteristic (i.e., Towns),

or dispersed in the watershed (i.e., Monsoon_Rice [Pre-monsoon_Rice], Monsoon_Rice


[Winter Crop] Summer_Rice).

Moreover, spatial information is lost in this second step as ArcSWAT may agglomerate spatially
distinct entities which have the same combination of Sub-watershed/landuse/soil/slope-classes. One
may consequently question the usefulness of this second step but Romanowicz et al (2005) and
Geza and McCray (2008) report that the ability of SWAT to reproduces observed signals is not at best
if all the units generated in the first step are kept.
Table 14: HRUs generation stages.
first stage
number of
units

Second stage
Threshold
LanSoil
duse

Slopeclasses

970

5%

10%

40

10%

Exempted landuse classes

number
of hRUs

Towns (URMD)
Monsoon_Rice [Pre-monsoon_Rice]
Monsoon_Rice [Winter
Crop] Summer_Rice

293

Stockholm Environment Institute

Since the landuse map spatial precision is greater than the soil map, we chose the following thresholds:

10 per cent for soil and slope-classes,

5 per cent for landuse.

The landuse categories Towns (VIFA), Monsoon_Rice [Pre-monsoon_Rice] (AAAJ) and Monsoon_Rice [Winter Crop] Summer_Rice (AWJJ) were exempted from the threshold analysis.
This second step generated 293 HRUs (Table 14). The number of these HRUs is greater upstream,
where the elevated terrain is more contrasted compared to the plain which is more uniform.
Distribution of the cropping sequences among the agricultural HRUs
Once the HRUs have been generated, a fundamental task is to set the management practices of the
two agricultural landuse units. As presented above in section III.7.c., the two agricultural units

Monsoon_Rice [Pre-monsoon_Rice] (AAAJ),

Monsoon_Rice [Winter Crop] [Jute or Pre-monsoon_Rice] (AWJJ),

have to be differentiated with respect to the various cropping sequences occurring in the watershed.
For this purpose, the cropping sequences were distributed among the HRUs pertaining to the landuse
category AAAJ or AWJJ so as to reproduce as much as possible the percentages of Table 11. While
doing so:

cropping sequences Irrigated Monsoon_Rice Pre-monsoon_Rice and Monsoon_Rice Winter


Crop Jute were distributed in priority within the unit AAAJ and AWJJ respectively to concur
with the landuse map,

attention was given to the value of the HRU slope so that Rainfed Monsoon_Rice would rather
be grown on uneven HRU while the other cropping sequences would be cultivated on flat HRUs.

The cropping sequence of the category Monsoon_Rice > [Winter Crop] > Summer_Rice (AWBJ)
was chosen to be Monsoon_Rice followed by Summer_Rice.
The distribution of all the landuse categories presented in section III.6.d. among the HRUs and the
management operations are summarised in Table 15: this is the input landuse information considered
by SWAT after pre-processing of ArcSWATs interface. The landuse information read as input by ArcSWAT (Table 7) is slightly different from the output of the pre-processing (Table 15), which is due to
the HRUs generation routine.

41

Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment


Table 15: Landuse distribution considered in SWAT after pre-processing by ArcSWAT, with respect
to the discretisation in HRUs, and management operations for each category.
Landuse category

Area
(km)

Management
Date
planting
or
beginning
growing
season

(%)

operations (table mgt2)


IrrigaDate hartion
vesting
or
End growing season

fertilisation

Forest (FRSJ)

1,442

24.9

1st March

30th November

None

None

Tea or Light Forest


(TEAB)

438

7.6

1st March

30th November

Auto-irrigation

Auto-fertilisation

Small Trees or Shrubland or Settlement


(FRMJ)

805

13.9

1st January

31th December

None

None

Rainfed Monsoon_Rice

1,002

17.3

As per Table
10

As per Table
10

As per
Table 10

Auto-fertilisation

Irrigated Monsoon_
Rice Pre-monsoon_
Rice

173

3.0

As per Table
10

As per Table
10

As per
Table 10

Auto-fertilisation

Irrigated Monsoon_
Rice Wheat

53

0.9

As per Table
10

As per Table
10

As per
Table 10

Auto-fertilisation

Irrigated Monsoon_
Rice Potato Jute

825

14.2

As per Table
10

As per Table
10

As per
Table 10

Auto-fertilisation

Irrigated Monsoon_
Rice Summer_Rice

342

5.9

As per Table
10

As per Table
10

As per
Table 10

Auto-fertilisation

Village or Fallow (VIFA)

232

4.0

Modelled as bare soil

Town (URMD)

0.1

Modelled as urban zones

Water (WATR)

475

8.2

Modelled as Water

Total

5,795

100.0

4.1.c Definition of the cropping sequences in SWATs management table


Once the cropping sequences have been distributed among all the agricultural HRUs, their schedule
in planting, irrigation, fertilisation and harvest were detailed in the management table (table mgt2),
following what was summarised in Table 10. The PHU values compiled in Table A.2 were entered
for each crop. For trees and tea, as (i) temperature measurements were only available at two stations
(Cooch Behar and Jalpaiguri) located in the plain and (ii) Forests and Tea plantations located in hilly
/ mountainous zones experience low temperatures during winter, these two perennial categories were
set to hibernate during months with lowest minimum temperatures (Figure 11), i.e., from beginning of
December to end of February.
The water source for irrigation (i.e., river or groundwater) tried to reproduce as much as possible the
indicative Table 13 for river source while the remaining area was under groundwater irrigation (table
mgt1). The Table 16 summarises the consequent irrigated areas and amount per sub-watershed. These
figures were partly derived from the landuse map, hence they are representative of the year 2008.
42

Stockholm Environment Institute

Table 16: Estimation of irrigation areas and amount for 2008, with respect to the discretisation in
HRUs.
Subwatershed

(ha)

from surface
(mm/
(% of
year)
total)

from groundwater
(ha)
(mm/
(% of
year)
total)

(ha)

Total
(mm/
year)

3,364

15

100

3,364

15

1,098

22

100

1,098

22

1,170

146

100

1,170

146

6,187

36

21

12,786

120

72

18,973

167

3,532

64

40

5,456

96

60

8,988

160

1,105

72

23

4,926

244

77

6,031

315

3,201

73

32

6,430

154

68

9,631

226

1,176

93

29

6,415

230

71

7,591

323

1,551

52

34

6,313

100

66

7,864

152

10

1,481

61

43

4,935

80

57

6,416

141

11

282

34

14

1,385

204

86

1,667

239

12

1,991

41

12

13,719

293

88

15,710

334

13

3,224

75

27

10,274

199

73

13,498

274

14

771

10,629

475

100

11,400

475

15

1,451

4,970

141

100

6,421

141

16

55

536

280

100

591

280

17

721

10,255

623

100

10,976

623

18

1,466

80

45

5,569

99

55

7,035

179

Watershed total
/ weighted
equivalent

33,826

42

22

104,598

145

78

138,424

187

Surface water irrigation is predominant in upstream sub-watersheds and the contrary for groundwater
irrigation. Irrigated areas and amount is higher from groundwater source than river. With SWATs spatial representation, i.e., with respect to the discretisation with HRUs, the irrigated areas and amount
representative of the whole watershed are 138,424 ha and 187 mm / year respectively. As much as
78 per cent of the irrigation (145 mm / year) comes from groundwater and the remaining 22 per cent
(42 mm / year) are obtained by river diversion. This amount is very small when compared to the
rainfall (Figure 10) and the terms of the water budget, as shown in de Condappa et al. (2011). The
sub-watershed 17 has a very high amount of groundwater irrigation as this sub-watershed is located
downstream on the west border of the watershed (Figure 6 and Figure 25), where lies most of the area
under Irrigated Monsoon_Rice Summer_Rice.
It will be explained in section IV.2.a. that the calibration period was 1998 2008. During this period
the amount of irrigation was generally increasing, reaching the values compiled in Table 16. Viewing
the variation in Summer_Rice area during period 1998 2008, which is a crop totally irrigated (Figure
43

Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment

28), we assumed that (i) in 1998 the amount of irrigation was 50 per cent of the quantum in 2008 and
(ii) irrigation increased linearly between the two dates. This variation was entered in the groundwater
model. Considering an inter-annual increase of irrigation is however cumbersome in SWATs management table (mgt2), hence we assumed that the irrigation was constant during the calibration period and
equal to 75 per cent of values compiled in Table 16.
For tea, auto-irrigation was chosen. Without specific data on fertilisation, auto-fertilisation was
applied to all the crops and Tea.
The correct simulation with SWAT of a paddy field with impounded water requires that the concerned HRU is declared as being a pothole (S. L. Neitsch et al. 2005). Unfortunately, only one HRU
per sub-watershed can be declared as being a pothole in the version SWAT 2009 used in this work.
This would mean that only one HRU per sub-watershed can correctly model rice cultivation, which
would not be acceptable in our case as all the agricultural units have a rice cultivation. Hence, we did
not declare any pothole, which entailed that rice fields were not simulated as being impounded. This is
a limitation of this modelling work as estimations of rice yields and water budget terms (evapotranspiration, groundwater recharge, surface and sub-surface runoff) may be incorrect in agricultural HRUs.
4.1.d Initial values
To initiate the calibration, initial values were entered for parameters in SWAT which were not
determined in preceding sections (Table 17). The values of CN2 were chosen as advised by Neitsch et al. (2010) with respect of the soil hydrologic group (Table A.1, Annex) and the landuse category. The groundwater parameters were guessed considering typical characteristics of alluvial shallow aquifer. Finally, the hydraulic conductivity of the main and tributary channels were taken equal to
0 mm/h, as suggested by Neitsch et al. (2010) for perennial rivers.
Regarding the groundwater model, the specific yield Sy is required but values measured in the
Jaldhaka basin were not available. Instead, we followed the range of values mentioned by Chatterjee and Purohit (2009) for whole India. Initial value of specific yield was about 0.15 in the in the alluvial system of the plains and less than 0.1 in mountainous sub-watersheds.

Table 17: Initial values for undetermined SWATs parameters.


category
Management

parameter
cn2

Groundwater

SHALLST

3,000 mm

DEEPST

3,000 mm

GW_DELAY

10 days

ALPHA_BF

0.5

GWQMIN

2,500 mm

GW_REVAP

0.1

REVAPMN

300

RCHRG_DP
Channels

44

Initial value
As advised by neitsch et al. (2010)

CH_K(1)

0 mm/h

CH_K(2)

0 mm/h

Stockholm Environment Institute

Most of the parameters of Table 17 were adjusted during the calibration.

4.2

calibration of the groundwater model and SWAT

4.2.a Method
It is reminded that the modelling set-up is illustrated on Figure 2. The general calibration strategy
was to reproduce (1) the evapotranspiration (section IV.2.b.), (2) the measured groundwater levels
with the groundwater model so as to assess the groundwater recharge and subsequently reproduce this
signal with SWAT (section IV.2.c.), (3) the same as step 2 with groundwater baseflow (section IV.2.d.)
and (4) the streamflow (section IV.2.e.). A last stage, which was not part of the calibration process,
attempted to validate the crop yields simulated by SWAT (section IV.2.f.). The procedure followed
these steps but as calibrating on one variable may change the result of the previously calibrated variable (e.g., tuning the soil parameters to calibrate the groundwater recharge may change the evapotranspiration as compared to the values calculated in the previous calibration step), the procedure
was completed several time until variation in all the four fluxes (evapotranspiration, groundwater
recharge and baseflow and streamflow) was negligible. In particular, any transformations in steps 1 to
3 impacted the streamflow at the outlet of the watershed (Kurigram gauge station) as this flow is an
integrated signal of the whole watershed. A total of 100 manual calibration runs were necessary and
following sections will only present results of the initial run, using parameters defined above in section IV.1.d., and of the final calibration (calibration run n100). The Table A.4 (Annex) summarises
the calibration steps.
The modelling period of each calibration run was imposed by the availability of observed streamflow, i.e., 1998 to 2008. We calibrated on an average monthly time step, except for the streamflows as
time-series of daily observed flow was available.
To stabilise the water budget and avoid effects of initial conditions, each calibration run was initiated
4 years earlier, i.e., from 1994 to 2008 (climate data were available since 1988); the outputs of period
1994 to 1997 were ignored.
The irrigation, as explained in section IV.1.c. above, was equal to 75 per cent of values compiled in
Table 16 during this calibration phase. The groundwater model was ran on the 33 wells from SWID
within the watershed and the outputs were then extrapolated to the sub-watersheds.
4.2.b Evapotranspiration Average monthly time step
We started to check that the calculated reference evapotranspiration as defined by Allen et al. (1998)
and referred to as ET0 [L/T], was satisfactory. SWAT can calculate ET0 with three formulas: PriestleyTaylor, Penman-Monteith or Hargreaves. The three options were selected and their outputs were compared with values reported in Kundu and Soppe (2002) and Raghuwanshi et al. (2007) (Figure 29 and
Table 18). First it can be noticed that Kundu and Soppe (2002) and Raghuwanshi et al. (2007) provide
similar trends. Hargreaves over-estimated ET0, Priestley-Taylor on the contrary under-estimated it.
Although solar radiation data from the region was not provided as input climatic data, Penman-Monteith formula yielded the closest values to the two references and was therefore selected to calculate
ET0.
We then examined values calculated for the actual evapotranspiration, referred to as ETa [L/T].
More precisely, we inspected for each vegetative landuse category the values taken by the ratio and
checked that its monthly average value took sensible values (Figure 30 and Table 19). The initial values for the landuse category Forest (FRSJ), an important category for the watershed, were judged to be
too small, hence we aimed at increasing the values taken by this ratio by tuning some soils parameters.
45

Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment

180

Kundu and Soppe


(2002)
Raghuwanshi et al.
(2007)
SWAT PenmanMonteith
SWAT Hargreaves
SWAT PriestleyTaylor

160
140

ET0 (mm/month)

120
100
80
60
40
20
0

10

11

12

Month

Figure 29: Average monthly reference evapotranspiration calculated from difference sources

Table 18: Average annual reference evapotraspiration calculated from different sources.
Source

ET0 (mm/year)

Kundu and Soppe (2002)

1,360

Raghuwanshi et al. (2007)

1,284

SWAT Penman-Monteith

1,296

SWAT Hargreaves

1,476

SWAT Priestley-Taylor

1,163

With the aim of increasing ETa, sensitivity analysis showed that ETa calculated by SWAT is mainly
sensitive to soils AWC, ESCO, EPCO and to a less extent soil thickness (Sol_Z). ETa increases with
the parameter EPCO but this parameter was already equal to 1, its maximum value in the initial run.
Therefore in this calibration we mainly increased the AWC and Sol_Z (Table A.4, Annex), in coordination with next calibration step (section IV.2.c.) as these two soil parameters also influence on SWAT
calculation of groundwater recharge. It was not required to tune ESCO parameter.
4.2.c Groundwater recharge Average monthly time step
This stage saw an interaction between the groundwater model and SWAT so as to model the groundwater recharge and baseflow. Indeed, the groundwater model interpreted the groundwater levels, rainfall and streamflows during the low flow season to provide an indication of the magnitude of the
recharge and baseflow. At the same time SWAT gave an indication of the spatial and temporal variation
of this recharge, with respect to properties of the overlaying soil cover. The aim was that both models
converge to similar outputs.

46

Stockholm Environment Institute

FRSJ
Aman
Aman Winter
crop Jute

TEAB
Aman Wheat

0.9

0.8

0.8

0.7

0.7

0.6

0.6

0.5
0.4

0.3
0.2

0.1

0.1
2

Month

10

11

12

TEAB
Aman Wheat

0.4

0.2

FRMJ
Aman Aus
Aman Boro

0.5

0.3

0.0

FRSJ
Aman
Aman Winter
crop Jute

1.0

0.9

ETa / ET0

ETa / ET0

1.0

FRMJ
Aman Aus
Aman Boro

0.0

Month

10

11

12

Figure 30: Calibration with respect to the actual evapotranspiration ETa. Monthly value of the
different landuse vegetation categories (average over the calibration period, 1998 2008).
Left: initial run. Right: after calibration (calibration run n100). Aman: monsoon rice, Boro: summer rice, Aus: premonsoon rice.

Table 19: Calibration with respect to the evapotranspiration ETa. Annual values of the ratio ETa /
ET0 for the different landuse vegetation categories (average over the calibration period, 1998
2008). Aman: monsoon rice, Boro: summer rice, Aus: pre-monsoon rice.
Landuse
category

fRSJ

fRMJ

TEAb Aman Aman


Aus

Initial run

0.51

0.69

0.56

0.55

Calibrated
(calibration run
n100)

0.66

0.72

0.54

0.52

Aman Whole
boro watershed

Aman
Wheat

Aman
potato
Jute

0.58

0.66

0.78

0.70

0.61

0.57

0.67

0.76

0.66

0.64

The groundwater model was ran on the 33 wells from SWID located within the Jaldhaka watershed. It is reminded that the groundwater draft Dnet (cf. section II.2.) for irrigation increased linearly
from 50 per cent to 100 per cent of the quantum of 2008 between the years 1998 to 2008 (cf. section III.8.c.). At each observation well, the groundwater model utilised the Kalman filter (Kalman
1960) to fit the Eq. (4) and (8) to the observed groundwater levels, using the rainfall P, the groundwater draft Dnet and the irrigation I which are known (Dnet and I are different if irrigation is also provided
by a river source, in addition to groundwater). This estimated the total recharge RG, the baseflow B and
the groundwater level h at each of the 33 wells. The simulated levels compared with measurements are
shown on Figure 31 for wells located in different topographical positions. It is noteworthy to remind
that the groundwater model was required to reproduce the observed groundwater levels, which was not
possible with the version of SWAT used in this work (SWAT 2009). At well D-12, the model simulated
groundwater level surfacing at some time step. Simulations suggest that the measurements may have
missed moments when groundwater levels were the deepest or the shallowest.

The recharge representative of each sub-watershed was then calculated by averaging the values
of wells within the sub-watershed. Since the observed groundwater levels were not available at a
monthly time step (cf. section III.5.b.) and the groundwater model used in this work is lumped,
i.e., a simpler approach than the semi-distributed of SWAT, we aimed at reproducing with SWAT
47

Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment

Date
01/96
182

07/01

04/04

Soil level

176
174
172
170

01/07
Soil level

98
96

Simulated
Observed

94
92
90

In piedmont (well D-10)

01/96
71

10/98

Date

07/01

In piedmont (well D-12)

04/04

Date

01/07
Soil level

01/96

Simulated
Observed

61
59

Piezometric level (m)

67

10/98

07/01

04/04

01/07
Soil level

36

69

Piezometric level (m)

04/04

86

166

63

Date

07/01

88

168

65

10/98

100

Simulated
Observed

178

01/96
102

01/07

Piezometric level (m)

Piezometric level (m)

180

10/98

34
32
30
28

Simulated
Observed

26
24

57

22

55

20

In plain (well P-25)

In plain (well PTC-9)

Figure 31: Piezometric levels simulated at a monthly time-step by the groundwater model vs.
observations
The wells are located on Figure 16

the simulated groundwater recharge at an average monthly time step over the calibration period
(1998 2008), instead of a monthly time step. Eventually the groundwater model enabled to
translate the variation in groundwater levels into recharge, which is reproducible with SWAT.
The groundwater recharge of the shallow aquifer calculated by SWAT (GW_RCHG) was sensible to GW_DELAYS, the surface curve number CN2, Sol_Z, to a lesser extent AWC and Sol_K
where slope is important. Initially the recharge calculated by SWAT was too small in mountainous
sub-watersheds while too high in the plains as compared to the estimation from the groundwater
model. Overall SWATs recharge was too hight (Figure 32). We increased CN2 to reduce infiltration at the soil surface, decreased Sol_K in mountainous region to reduce sub-surface later flow
and controlled the increase in Sol_Z in the previous calibration step (section IV.2.b.). We also
fixed GW_DELAYS (the time that percolation out of the soil cover becomes shallow groundwater recharge) equal to 0 as the groundwater levels are shallow.

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250
200

300
Groundwater
model
SWAT

Average annual
recharge:
* Groundwater model:
409 mm / year
* SWAT: 967 mm / year

Shallow aquifer recharge (mm / month)

Shallow aquifer recharge (mm / month)

300

150
100
50
0

10

11

12

250

Average annual
recharge:
* Groundwater model:
569 mm / year
* SWAT: 571 mm / year

Groundwater
model
SWAT

200
150
100
50
0

Month

10

11

12

Month

Figure 32: Calibration with respect to the recharge of the shallow aquifer (GW_RCHG), average
for the Jaldhaka watershed over the calibration period (1998 2008)
Left: initial run. Right: after calibration (calibration run n100)

The calibrated shallow aquifer recharge (GW_RCHG) is plotted on Figure 32. Note that output of the groundwater model also changed during the numerous calibration runs as this is an
interactive and iterative process. The annual sum calculated by SWAT is very close to the value
simulated by the groundwater model (569 mm/year vs. 571 mm/year) but the monthly figures are
different. This is due to the different approach that both models follow to compute the recharge
from rainfall and irrigation:
the groundwater model uses a linear relationship,
while SWAT calculates the recharge with non-linear rules function of soils properties.
Therefore we focused on reproducing the annual amount and optionally match as much as possible
the monthly trends.
Calibrated values of CN2 are very high. Its maximum value is 95 for the agricultural unit Monsoon_Rice Summer_Rice: in the absence of any pothole, this value was purposely chosen to simulate
the rather impermeable soils of this agricultural practice. Others agricultural units in soils of the plain
were given the value 90, which is also a high value, which is consistent with the low conductivity
reported by Kundu and Soppe (2002) for soils of the region and the fact that values reported in Neitsch et al. (2010) are appropriate for a 5 per cent (a little less than 3) slope, while the slope is mostly
less than 1 in the plain (Figure 4).
4.2.d Groundwater baseflow Average monthly time step

Similarly to the groundwater recharge, this calibration step aimed at converging the simulations
by both models of the groundwater baseflow. Using the simulations of the groundwater model,
the baseflow representative of each sub-watershed was calculated by averaging the values of
wells within the sub-watershed. Eventually the groundwater model enabled to translate the variation in groundwater levels into baseflow that can be in turn reproduced with SWAT.
As was the case for the recharge, the calibration in SWAT was also realised on an average
monthly time step over the calibration period (1998 2008), instead of a monthly time step. The
groundwater baseflow of the shallow aquifer calculated by SWAT (GW_Q) was sensible to the
49

Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment

baseflow recession constant (ALPHA_BF), the deep aquifer percolation fraction (RCHRG_DP)
and the shallow aquifer threshold for baseflow (GWQMIN). The observed streamflow at the outlet of the watershed (Kurigram gauge, cf. Figure 7) and the groundwater model demonstrate that
the groundwater baseflow is buffered all along the year and in particular baseflow occurs during
the relative dry season. This buffered groundwater baseflow was absent in the first run (Figure
33) and the solution was to decrease drastically ALPHA_BF and play with GWQMIN. This was
in coordination with next calibration step (section IV.2.e.) as these two groundwater parameters
also influence on SWAT calculation of streamflow.

90
80
70
60

Groundwater
model
SWAT

Average annual
baseflow:
* Groundwater model:
427 mm / year
* SWAT: 313 mm / year

50
40
30
20
10
0

10

11

12

Baseflow from shallow aquifer (mm / month)

Baseflow from shallow aquifer (mm / month)

For simplification purpose, RCHRG_DP was taken equal to 0. Indeed, processes of the deep aquifer
in such alluvial context were assumed to be governed by lateral transfers between regions outside of
the Jaldhaka watershed.

Month

90
80
70
60

Groundwater
model
SWAT

Average annual
baseflow:
* Groundwater model:
421 mm / year
* SWAT: 418 mm / year

50
40
30
20
10
0

10

11

12

Month

Figure 33: Calibration with respect to the shallow groundwater baseflow (GW_Q), average for the
Jaldhaka watershed over the calibration period (1998 2008)
Left: initial run. Right: after calibration (calibration run n100)

In the final calibrated run, the matching is greatly improved (Figure 33). Note that output of
the groundwater model again changed during the numerous calibration runs. The final value of
ALPHA_BF (0.002, cf Table A.4, Annex) is extremely small with respect to values presented in Neitsch et al. (2010), hence this watershed setting of Jaldhaka may be an extreme case reaching the limitation of SWAT modelling. Having this in mind and similarly to the case of groundwater recharge,
we focused on reproducing the annual amount and optionally match as much as possible the monthly
trends.
The calibrated value of shallow groundwater baseflow is less than the recharge: this is logical since
the modelling accounted for irrigation groundwater pumping.
4.2.e Streamflows Daily time step

The critical step of the calibration was to reproduce the observed streamflows at the stations
Taluk-Simulbari and Kurigram in Bangaldesh. As it could be expected, there was a gap between
modelled and observed values in the initial run (Figure 34). More precisely (i) simulated flows
were too low during the low season, as the groundwater baseflow was greatly underestimated
during this period (cf. section IV.2.d.) and (ii) the signal of the streamflow was too sharp hence it
was required to delay the flows, i.e., the runoff.
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Stockholm Environment Institute

1,600

Simulated
Observed

1,400
5,000
4,500

Simulated
Observed

1,200

Streamflow (m3/s)

4,000

Streamflow (m3/s)

3,500
3,000
2,500
2,000

1,000
800
600
400

1,500
1,000

200

500
0
06/98

10/99

03/01

07/02

12/03

04/05

08/06

01/08

10

11

12

Month

Figure 34: Streamflow simulated (FLOW_OUT) at Kurigram in the initial run over the calibration
period (1998 2008)
Left: daily time-series. Right: monthly averages

Since the streamflow at Kurigram and Taluk-Simulbari is an integrated signal representative of


the areas upstream, the simulated streamflow (FLOW_OUT) was sensitive to all the parameters
modified in the previous calibration steps (sections IV.2.b. to IV.2.d.) plus the values of Mannings roughness coefficient for the channels (CH_N(1) and CH_N(2)) and the surface lag coefficient (SURLAG). Only CH_N(1) and CH_N(2) were modified in this section to introduce lag in
the runoff and it was not required to tune SURLAG.
To quantitatively assess the quality of the calibration, we used four metric indicators. The first
checked that there is no bias in the modelling by making sure that the magnitude of the simulations over the calibration period is close to the values measured. For this purpose we calculated
the following bias indicator M [-]:
(10)

with QSWATi [L3/T] and QObsi [L3/T] respectively the simulated and observed on day i; the sum is calculated over the calibration period (1998 2008).
The second indicator was the Nash and Sutcliffe (1970) efficiency NS [-]:

(11)

with

the average of QObsi over the calibration period (1998 2008).

The third indicator was a modified version of NS to emphasise on low flows NSlow [-] (Krause,
Boyle, and Bse 2005):

51

Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment

(12)

The forth and last indicator was a modified version of NS to emphasise on high flows Nshigh [-]:

(13)

The aim of the calibration was quantitatively to have all the 4 indicators closest to 1 and qualitatively to improve the visual fit. We paid greater attention to values of NSlow, in particular at TalukSimulbari, as measurement of high flows are suspected to be less precise than low flows and
number of readings is more at Taluk-Simulbari (section III.2.b.). To achieve this, we increased
CH_N(1) and CH_N(2) to create roughness, hence lag, along respectively the tributaries and the
main channel. The final value of CH_N(1) and CH_N(2) (respectively 0.5 and 0.3, cf Table A.4,
Annex) are high (S. Neitsch et al. 2010) and can be explained by the particular configuration of
the watershed middle and downstream which is extremely flat with various depressions.
Values of the 4 indicators at the initial run and final calibration (calibration run n100) are
showed in Table 20 and the calibrated hydrographs are shown on Figure 35. Unfortunately values
of the 4 indicators are not available for Taluk-Simulbari for the initial run. The value of M for
Taluk-Simulbari is very close to 1, which shows that there is no bias for the simulation down to
this station. The values of NS, NShigh and NSlow are lower for Taluk-Simulbari than for Kurigram
which is due to the much greater number of available observations at Taluk-Simulbari. Overall
values of these three parameters are judged to be satisfactory at both gauge stations. The average
flows during the low season are apparently slightly over-estimated at both stations but this final
calibration configuration yielded the values of M, NS, NShigh and NSlow closest to 1.
Table 20: Values of the calibration indicators defined by Eq. (10) to (13).
Station

Sub-water- number
shed
of observations

TalukSimulbari

16

878

Kurigram

18

197

Initial run

calibrated
(calibration run n100)

nS

nSlow

nShigh

nS

nSlow

nShigh

NA

NA

NA

NA

1.02

0.74

0.77

0.75

Incalculable

0.48

0.95

0.78

0.82

0.77

0.80 0.28

The gap between simulation and observation is greater for high flows, in particular at Kurigram
where M takes the low value of 0.95. This is acceptable referring to section III.2.c.:
the greater the flow, the greater the error in measurement;
floods from other river systems may invade the most downstream part of the watershed hence create flow-peaks or higher magnitude; this cannot be modelled with the current modelling set-up.

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4,000

4,000

Simulated
Observed

3,500

Taluk-Simulbari

Kurigram

3,000

Streamflow (m3/s)

Streamflow (m3/s)

3,000
2,500
2,000
1,500
1,000

2,500
2,000
1,500
1,000

500

500

0
06/98 10/99 03/01 07/02 12/03 04/05 08/06 01/08

1,600

0
06/98 10/99 03/01 07/02 12/03 04/05 08/06 01/08

1,600

Simulated
Observed

1,400

Taluk-Simulbari

1,200

Streamflow (m3/s)

1,000
800
600
400

1,000
800
600
400
200

200
0

Kurigram

Simulated
Observed

1,400

1,200

Streamflow (m3/s)

Simulated
Observed

3,500

9 10 11 12

9 10 11 12

Month

Month

Figure 35: Streamflow simulated (FLOW_OUT) in the final calibration (calibration run n100) over
the calibration period (1998 2008).
Top: daily time-series. Bottom: monthly averages.

4.2.f Crop yields Annual time step


This stage did not involve any calibration. We attempted instead to validate the dry crop yields
simulated by SWAT in each agricultural HRU by comparing them to the administrative agricultural
statistics. The average yields (period 1998 2008) simulated for each cropping sequence defined in
Table 15 and for the whole watershed are placed in Table 21; the average yield of the Monsoon_Rice
from all the cropping sequences is mentioned as well.
Table 21: Watershed-average dry crop yields simulated by SWAT in the final calibration
(calibration run n100) over the calibration period (1998 2008).
Aman: monsoon rice, Boro: summer rice, Aus: pre-monsoon rice.

cropping
sequence

Dry yield (T/ha)

Aman

Aman
Aman
Aman potato
Aman
All
Aus
Wheat
Jute
boro
Aman Aman Aus Aman Wheat Aman potato Jute Aman boro Aman
2.7

2.2

2.0

2.2

3.6

1.8

3.5

2.6

2.6

2.7

2.3

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Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment

When compared with the agricultural statistics (Table 9), those values do not match well for
at least four reasons. First, the crop parameters presented in section III.7.c. for Rice, Wheat and
Potato are not specific for the region of the Jaldhaka watershed. Moreover, Jute was not present
in SWATs database and no agronomic information was available on this crop, hence its characteristics were arbitrarily derived from SWATs generic agricultural class.
Second, yields can be calculated in different ways. SWAT estimates the dry yield while the
agricultural statistics mention:
for rice, the clean yield, which does not match with SWATs results, and the dry yield, to which
SWATs estimation are closer,
for potato, the wet yields as potato contains a significant amount of water after harvest; if the
water content is assumed to be about 80 per cent, hence the dry matter is 1/5th of the total potato mass,
SWATs yield is closer to agricultural statistics.

Third, the management practices in SWAT considered auto-fertilisation, which results in greater
application of fertilisers as compared to reality. This may entail an over-estimation of the yields.
Fourth, as was emphasised in section IV.1.c., a correct simulation of paddy fields by SWAT
would require to use the pothole characteristic, which was not possible in this application in the
Jaldhaka watershed. Hence, in SWAT rice fields were simulated as regular fields which are not
impounded. This should obviously lead to wrong yield calculations, in particular for the Summer_Rice and Pre-Monsoon_Rice which are irrigated, hence impounded. This limitation may not
impact as much the yield simulation of rainfed Monsoon_Rice.
All these reasons imply that the yields simulated by SWAT are not reliable, although calculated
values are close to the administrative statistics for clean rice and potato. Analyses of modelling
output should not utilise the crop yields simulated by SWAT.
4.2.g Simplifications and limitations of the modelling
The Table 22 summarises the simplifications and limitations of the modelling. As the dataset was
limited (no monthly groundwater levels, only the streamflow was on a daily time step and this only
for 2 gauges) and the model was not validated with an independent dataset, the current version is only
valid to show monthly or annual average trends at the scale of the whole watershed. In particular, it
should not be used to analyse outputs of individual month, year or sub-watershed.
Application of this modelling is reported in de Condappa et al. (2011).

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Stockholm Environment Institute

Table 22: Simplifications and limitations of the modelling.


category

Limitation

Why?

consequence

Ponding of
paddy field
should be
modelled in
SWAT with a
pothole

Ignored

Only one HRU per


sub-watershed can
be a pothole in SWAT
2009

The hydrological functioning of a


paddy field is not modelled correctly, which could affect calculations of:
rice yield,
water budget terms around the
paddy field (evapotranspiration,
groundwater recharge, surface
and sub-surface runoff).

Domestic &
industrial water
consumption

Ignored

No data

Should not be an issue as there is


no major city nor industries along
the Jaldhaka. Moreover these
demands usually consume little
water as compared to irrigation.

Deep aquifer

Ignored

Deep aquifer processes in such alluvial


context were assumed
to be governed by lateral transfers between
regions outside of the
Jaldhaka watershed.

Should not affect the hydrological


modelling of the Jaldhaka river
network.

Possible bad representation in SWAT of the


crops and agricultural
practices in the Jaldhaka watershed.

Analysis of the current and scenario contexts ignored SWAT's


simulations for crop yields.

Should be negligible as main rain


occurs during the warm period.

Crop yield not


simulated correctly

Snow accumulation
and melting
upstream

Ignored

No data on snow
accumulation and
lapse in temperature

Groundwater
pumping for
irrigation

Considered
constant in
SWAT

Cumbersome to enter
a varying irrigation
in management table
(mgt2)

Streamflow

Available
only at 2
locations
downstream

Data restriction in
India

Not analyses are possible at subwatershed scale but only for the
whole watershed.

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Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment

5
5.1

DIScUSSIon
on the input dataset

Input data is a critical requirement for a successful modelling and are of two sorts: (i) data characterising the studied region and (ii) the forcing data to calibrate and validate the model. A fair dataset
was gathered in this work and we tried to complement gaps. This enabled a satisfactory modelling
of average trends at the watershed scale. There were nonetheless some shortcomings. In term of data
characterising the studied region, climatic data, and in particular rainfall, is the primary input data. In
the Jaldhaka watershed, the daily rainfall was the most varying variable within a month, followed by
wind while the humidity was less variable and the temperature almost stable monthly-wise (Figures 10
and 11). Hence the priority to capture the climatic characteristics of a region is to gather rainfall and
wind data at a time and space resolution as fine as possible, while humidity and temperatures could
be compiled at a coarser scale. In this work, we collected daily climatic data at two local stations and
complemented with a gridded daily rainfall dataset to include a spatial representation of the variability
of rainfall.
To characterise succinctly watershed, SWAT generates Hydrologic Response Units (HRUs) from the
topographical, soil and landuse information. Obtaining topographical data, ie., the Digital Elevation
Model (DEM), is usually not an issue for large watersheds / basins, as it was the case in this work with
the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM). Soil information was the second information required
to create the HRUs and describe the soil hydrological processes and vegetation growth cycles. Qualitative information is usually accessible through international database, such as the FAO Digital Soil
Map of the World or the World Reference Base, or national agencies, as was the case in this work with
the soil map of the Indian National Bureau of Soil Survey and Landuse Planning. A agro-hydrological
model like SWAT however requires quantitative soil data usually not as available, such as the thickness of the different horizons, the soil texture (e.g., percentage of clay, silt, sand), and the soil structure
(e.g., soil water retention parameter such as the Available Water Capacity in SWAT AWC -, the soil
conductivity parameter such as the empirical curve number CN2 in SWAT) in these horizons. In our
case, we did not have specific local data for these quantitative soil parameters and we used instead the
free Harmonised World Soil Database. This international database was not matching with the local
soil knowledge and literature hence we had to adjust and complement to / with the local knowledge.
During SWATs calibration, we found that the most sensitive soil parameters were the AWC, the soil
thickness and the curve number CN2. One may question the relevance of modifying these three last
soil parameters as they should be estimated based on local data, which we try to attain before the calibration. Modifying the soil thickness could indeed be questioned as it is informed by the soil map,
although in an approximative manner. However, the AWC and the curve number are much dependent
of the soil structure, i.e., the arrangement of the soil particles in the soil medium, which is extremely
variable in space and time, thus these two parameters can be considered as calibration parameters.
The landuse is the third layer necessary to generate the HRUs. In addition to describing the land
occupation, it should inform as much as possible on the cropping patterns in agricultural lands. Our
case was ideal as we contributed to the generation of a fine resolution landuse map in the context the
AgWater Solutions Project in the Jaldhaka watershed. In case no specific landuse map is accessible, an
alternative could be to gather landuse map from international database and try to use available tools,
such as Google Earth, to attempt to improve the landuse map.
In this work without reservoirs in the watershed and in addition to generate HRUs, crop information
and management practices are necessary to describe appropriately the cropping sequences. Crop data
pertain to agronomic properties for simulating the growth of vegetation and the crop yields. We lacked
the specific characteristics for the crops grown in the Jaldhaka and approximated them with values
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Stockholm Environment Institute

present in the ArcSWAT crop database. This was one of the causes of our failure to simulate correctly
crop yields in the Jaldhaka basin. Finally, knowledge of management practices, such as irrigation and
fertilisation applications, are essential as well. Though we collected typical irrigation time-schedules
during the groundtruthing of the landuse map developed in AgWater Solution project, we had no systematic and continuous information on the current and past irrigation amount in the watershed. Alternatively, we approximated fairly well these irrigations using the precise landuse map and taking the
trivial assumption that farmers growing an irrigated crop (e.g., Summer_Rice) have the mean to irrigate. Subsequently and in a further approximation, we chose for the irrigation amount values reported
in the literature for West Bengal regions. Regarding the fertilisation, we possessed no data specific to
the Jaldhaka watershed map and instead used the auto-fertilisation function of SWAT. This was not
satisfactory and surely contributed to a wrong simulation of crop yields.
With respect to forcing data, the two variables considered here were streamflows and groundwater
levels. Availability of the measured streamflows at the outlet of the watershed was critical to calibrate
SWAT, which guaranteed a reproduction of the integrated hydrological signature of the watershed.
Moreover, the streamflows being highly variable within a month, it is advisable to collect daily measurements, which was feasible in this work. We lacked however measurements at intermediary location
in the watershed and therefore we could not simulate sub-watershed hydrological processes.
The groundwater data was particularly required in the Jaldhaka watershed as groundwater is the
predominant source for irrigation and it was therefore important to model it appropriately. In India
groundwater levels are more easily obtainable than streamflows and, in our case and thanks to the State
Water Investigation Directorate of West Bengal, a good dataset of groundwater levels was available
free of cost. Although this dataset was limited as it was not monthly, which means that we might have
missed the months when groundwater levels are the deepest or the shallowest, it enabled the simulation of groundwater levels fluctuation. We missed in our dataset measured values of the specific yield
in the Jaldhaka watershed, that we eventually approximated with range of values for whole India.

5.2

on the model set up

One characteristic of this work is to have associated two different models: SWAT and the groundwater model developed by Tomer et al. (2010). The groundwater model enabled the interpretation of
the measured groundwater levels, which was impossible with the version of SWAT used here (SWAT
2009, version 433). Subsequently, the groundwater model translated the variation in groundwater
levels into fluctuation of groundwater recharge. SWAT also contributed to the determination of the
recharge by improving its spatial and temporal variation, with respect to properties of the overlaying
soil cover. Eventually both models interacted to simulate correctly the recharge with respect to the
rainfall and the groundwater levels.
An additional benefit of using the groundwater model was to guide SWAT in reproducing the buffered groundwater baseflow, which is essential to simulate the perennial nature of the Jaldhaka river.
Indeed, the first calibration runs with SWAT failed critically to model the baseflow during the dry
season (Figure 33). The calculations of the groundwater model motivated the reduction of SWATs
groundwater parameter ALPHA_BF to an extremely small value, which improved drastically the simulation of the streamflows. Since the final value of ALPHA_BF is smaller than the range mentioned by
Neitsch et al. (2010), this case is extreme in term of SWATs groundwater modelling and the groundwater model was critical to guide towards this singular setting.
Application of this modelling is reported in de Condappa et al. (2011).

57

Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment

concLUSIon

This paper contributed to the understanding of potential for development of Agricultural Water Management (AWM) in the watershed of the Jaldhaka river, a tributary to the Brahmaputra river, located in
Bhutan, India and Bangladesh. An application of the Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) and of the
lumped groundwater model of Tomer et al. (2010) was developed as a tool to study AWM development scenarios in the Jaldhaka watershed.
The first stage of this work was to collect data / information to characterise the natural and agricultural contexts of the Jaldhaka watershed. The watershed has a contrasted topography, with mountains
upstream and large plains downstream. It experiences high rainfall with a monsoonal pattern and an
average of 3,300 mm/year. The river flow is perennial with recurrent occurrence of flood events during
the monsoon. The aquifers are alluvial in the region and the groundwater levels are shallow and stable
in the watershed. This study contributed to the development of a precise landuse map which identifies
in particular the different cropping sequences in agricultural lands. Agricultural statistics were gathered at administrative levels and the irrigation in the watershed was found to be predominantly from
groundwater, with diesel pumps, and to irrigate rice during summer and potato during winter.
A fairly large dataset was gathered and we tried to complement gaps. There were nonetheless some
shortcomings. In term of data characterising the studied region, climatic data, and in particular rainfall,
are the most required input data. In the Jaldhaka watershed, the daily rainfall and wind were the critical
climate data as they were the most varying variable within a month. Soil information is usually available in a qualitative form but quantitative information necessary for agro-hydrological modelling is
rarer and in our case we combined local soil knowledge and literature with an international database.
The landuse map describes the land occupation and should inform as much as possible on the cropping
pattern in agricultural lands. Our case was ideal as we contributed to the generation of a fine resolution
landuse map in the context the AgWater Solutions Project in the Jaldhaka watershed. Precise knowledge of irrigation patterns is required to account for anthropogenic water uses and simulate correctly
crop cultivations. Though we had no systematic and continuous information on the current and past
irrigation in the watershed, we approximated it fairly well using the precise landuse map and irrigation
amount values reported in the literature for West Bengal regions. We lacked specific agronomic information on crops and agricultural practices in the Jaldhaka watershed and consequently failed to reproduce correctly crop yields. With respect to calibration data, we used streamflows and groundwater
levels. Availability of the measured streamflow at the outlet of the watershed was critical to calibrate
SWAT, which guaranteed a reproduction of the integrated hydrological signature of the watershed but
we lacked however measurement at intermediary locations in the watershed and therefore we could
not simulate sub-watershed hydrological processes. The groundwater data was particularly required in
the Jaldhaka watershed as groundwater is the predominant source for irrigation and it was important
to model it appropriately. We gathered a good dataset of groundwater levels and were able to simulate
fluctuation of groundwater levels.
A characteristic feature of this work was to have associated in an interactive manner the model
SWAT with the groundwater model of Tomer et al. (2010). The last enabled the interpretation of the
measured groundwater levels, which was impossible with SWAT and which was particularly important in the context of the Jaldhaka watershed. It also guided SWAT in reproducing correctly the buffered groundwater baseflow, which is critical to simulate the perennial nature of the Jaldhaka river. At
the same time, SWAT interpreted the measured streamflows and improved the spatial and temporal
description of the groundwater recharge. Eventually both models interacted to convergence to a satisfactory simulation of hydrological processes in the Jaldhaka watershed. However, the model set-up
failed to reproduce adequately the crop yields.
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Stockholm Environment Institute

This modelling framework was applied in an accompanying report (de Condappa et al. 2011) to
study the current state of the hydrology in the Jaldhaka watershed and the impacts of two types of
AWM scenarios.

59

Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment

AcknoWLEDGEMEnTS
This work was supported by the AgWater Solutions project, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates
Foundation. We are also thankful to the following persons for their contribution (by alphabetical order):
Nyayapati Aakanksh, International Water Management Institute, for supporting request of streamflow data.
Badrul Alam, International Development Enterprises - Bangladesh, for supporting request of
streamflow data.
U. S. Aich, Directorate of Agriculture (Kolkata), for providing agricultural statistics on potatoes.
Saswati Bandyopadhyay, State Water Investigation Directorate (West Bengal), for providing
groundwater data.
Gopal Barma, Assistant Director of Agriculture (Administration, Mathabhanga), for providing
agricultural statistics.
Salim Bhuiyan, Bangladesh Water Development Board, for providing streamflow data.
Suman Biswas, International Development Enterprises India, for support during field works.
S. Biswas, Agricultural University of Cooch Behar, for providing information on soils.
P. K. Biswas, Assistant Agricultural Meteorologist (Jalpaiguri), for providing a copy of
Kundu and Soppe (2002).
Aniruddha Brahmachari, International Development Enterprises India, for support during field
works and data collection.
Annemarieke de Bruin, Stockholm Environment Institute, for sharing results of the Participatory
GIS in the Jaldhaka watershed.
Xueliang Cai, International Water Management Institute, for contributing to the development of
the landuse map.
Howard Cambridge, Stockholm Environment Institute, for advices on SWAT.
D. Dutta, Indian Space Research Organisation, for general advices.
Sylvain Ferrant, Indo-French Center for Groundwater Research, for numerous advices on SWAT.
Charlotte de Fraiture, International Water Management Institute, for initial advices.
Victor Kongo, Stockholm Environment Institute, for advices on SWAT.
Monique Mikhail, Stockholm Environment Institute, for sharing results of the Participatory GIS
in the Jaldhaka watershed.

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K. K. Mondal, Director of the Bureau of Applied Economics & Statistics (Kolkata), for providing
agricultural statistics.
Aditi Mukherji, International Water Management Institute, for numerous advices on groundwater
and data collection.
Rajiv Pradhan, Director of International Development Enterprises - Bangladesh, for supporting
request of streamflow data.
Mala Ranawake, International Water Management Institute, for supporting data requests.
Adam Regis, Stockholm Environment Institute, for administrative works.
Bhaskar Roy, Assistant Director of Agriculture (Cooch Behar), for providing general information.
Bharat Sharma, International Water Management Institute, for supporting request of streamflow
data.
Raghuwanshi Narendra Singh, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, for providing data of
Raghuwanshi et al. (2007).
A. K. Sinha, Agricultural University of Cooch Behar, for providing information on soils.
Jean Philippe Venot, International Water Management Institute, for support on ArcSWAT interface.
Hua Xie, International Food Policy Research Institute, for advices on SWAT.

61

62

Excessive Excessive Well

Severe

Gravelly
loamy

Drainage

Erosion

Flood

Texture

Coarse
loamy

Severe

W006

Gentle

Piedmont
plain
(Terai
soils)

Well

Imperfect Imperfect Poor

Fine
loamy

Gravelly
loamy

Coarse
loamy

Fine
loamy

Coarse
loamy

Coarse
loamy

Coarse
loamy

Moderate -

Moder- Poor
ately well

Very deep Very deep

Very gen- Very gentle Very gen- Very gentle,


on recent
tle
tle, on
alluvial plains
active
alluvial
plains

Very gentle,
on recent
alluvial
plains
Very gentle, on
recent alluvial plains

Coarse
loamy

Moderate

Fine loamy Fine silty

Moderate -

Poor

Very deep

Recent alluvial plain


(most recent
soils)
Recent
alluvial
plain (most
recent
soils)

Imperfect Poor
-

W028

Aeric Hap- Typic Flulaquepts


vaquents

W026

Very deep Very deep

Very gentle, on
recent
alluvial
plains

Recent
alluvial
plain
(most
recent
soils)

Piedmont Piedmont
plain (Terai
plain
soils)
(Terai
soils)

Recent alluvial plain


(most recent
soils)

W025

Active
alluvial
plain
(Flood
plain
soils)

W018
Aquic
Ustifluvents

W010
Typic
Ustorthents

W008

Fluventic Typic Hap- Aquic


Eutrolaquents
Ustifluchrepts
vents

W007

Moderate Very deep Very deep Very deep


shallow

Steep
slope

Hills
and side
slopes
(brown
forest
soils)

Typic Dys- Umbric


trochrepts Dystrochrepts

W004

Moderate Moderate Moderate Moderate -

Moderate Deep
shallow

Shallow

Steep
slope

Depth

Steep
slope

Hills
and side
slopes
(brown
forest
soils)

Hills
and side
slopes
(brown
forest
soils)

Very
steep
slope

Umbric
Dystrochrepts

W003

Typic
Udorthents

W002

Slope position

Hills
and side
slopes
(brown
forest
soils)

Position

Jaldhaka
River

Lithic
Udorthents

W001

USDA Taxonomy

Riv

base. Light yellow: data eventually entered in SWAT.

Light grey: parameters derived by crossing soil map data with information from the Principal Agricultural Officer, Cooch Behar. Light blue: data from the Harmonised World Soil Data-

Table A.1: Soil parameters. Light orange: data from the original soil map from the Indian National Bureau of Soil Survey and Landuse Planning.

AnnEx

Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment

Sub soil
organic content
( per cent)

0.3

Sub soil dry bulk 1.4


density (g/cm3)

Gravel:Sand:
Silt:Clay

Sub soil texture ( per cent)

1.4

Top soil
organic content
( per cent)

0.6

1.4

Top soil dry bulk 1.6


density (g/cm3)

10

0.01

100

Soil depth (cm)

26:43:
34:23

AWC (mm/mm) 0.15

5:78:
13:9

3717

Matched HWSD 3703


units

Top soil texture


( per cent)
Gravel: Sand:
Silt: Clay

Sandy
Loam

W001

Sandy
Loam

Derived texture

Riv

0.6

1.4

35:44:
35:21

1.4

1.4

0.15

100

20:42:
37:21

3662

Sandy
Loam

W002

0.4

1.3

26:35:
24:41

1.0

1.4

0.15

100

11:44:
33:23

3662

Loam

W003

0.5

1.4

20:45:
35:20

1.4

1.4

0.10

100

10:41:
39:20

3662

Sandy
Loam

W004

0.4

1.4

8:41:
38:21

0.9

1.4

0.15

100

4:39:
41:20

3849

Sandy
Loam

W006

0.3

1.3

7:28:
38:34

0.8

1.4

0.15

100

9:34:
43:23

3850

Loam

W007

0.4

1.4

12:40:
35:25

1.0

1.4

0.15

100

9:42:
36:22

3683

Sandy
Loam

W008

0.4

1.3

5:36:
36:28

1.1

1.4

0.15

100

4:37:
40:23

3703

Sandy
Loam

W010

0.4

1.4

12:40:
35:25

1.0

1.4

0.15

100

9:42:
36:22

3850

Sandy Loam

W018

0.4

1.4

8:52:
28:20

1.1

1.4

0.15

100

4:49:
32:19

3850

Sandy
Loam

W025

0.3

1.3

7:28:
38:34

0.8

1.4

0.15

100

9:34:
43:23

3850

Loam

W026

0.7

1.3

5:37:
35:28

3.7

1.4

0.15

100

4:33:
45:22

3850

Silt Loam

W028

Stockholm Environment Institute

63

64

26:68:
19:13

5:78:
13:9

100

300

0.08

250

Corrected top
soil texture
( per cent)
Gravel:Sand:
Silt:Clay

Corrected sub
soil texture
( per cent)
Gravel:Sand:
Silt:Clay

Hydrologic
group

N of layers

Thickness layer
1 (cm)

Thickness layer
2 (cm)

SOL_ZMX (cm)

AWC layer 1

AWC layer 2

SOL_K layer 1
(mm/h)

SOL_K layer 2
(mm/h)

200

0.10

300

50

W001

Riv

150

100

0.10

0.15

300

70

30

35:77:
17:6

20:62:
27:11

W002

100

84

0.15

0.20

300

100

40

26:59:
23:18

11:44:
33:23

W003

150

100

0.10

0.15

300

70

30

20:76:
19:5

10:61:
29:10

W004

100

50

0.15

0.20

300

200

50

8:64:
31:5

4:49:
41:10

W006

50

25

0.20

0.25

300

200

50

7:49:
33:18

9:34:
43:23

W007

100

50

0.15

0.20

300

200

50

12:67:
26:7

9:52:
36:12

W008

100

50

0.15

0.20

300

200

50

5:62:
30:8

4:47:
40:13

W010

100

50

0.15

0.20

300

200

50

12:67:
26:7

9:52:
36:12

W018

50

25

0.15

0.20

300

200

50

8:74:
22:4

4:59:
32:9

W025

30

15

0.20

0.25

300

200

50

7:49:
33:18

9:34:
43:23

W026

30

15

0.25

0.30

300

200

50

5:38:
45:17

4:23:
55:22

W028

Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment

FRSJ

RICE (Rice)

TEAB

FRMJ

AAAJ, AWJJ and


AWBJ

AWJJ

AWJJ

AAAJ and AWJJ

Tea

Medium
trees

Rice

Potato

Jute

Wheat

SWHT (Spring Wheat)

AGRL (Agricultural
Land-Generic)

POTA (Potato)

RNGB (Range-Brush)

FRSE (Forest-Evergreen)

FRSJ

Large trees

created from

SWAT landuse
unit

vegetation
/ crop

Table A.2: SWAT vegetation / crop parameters.

2m
Cold season
annual

RDMX
IDC

T_BASE

0C

18C

Warm season
annual

BLAI

T_OPT

1m

7C

T_BASE

5C

25C

8C

22C

T_OPT

25C

Warm season
annual

30C

Cold season
annual

25C

T_OPT

10 m

IDC

15 m

CHTMX

2m

3.5 m

RDMX

BLAI

1m

0.7

25C

15 m

Modified

2m

BLAI

RDMX

30C

T_OPT

10 m

CHTMX

ALAI_MIN

original value

Modifications
parameter

1,655

1,540

1,330

Monsoon_Rice: 2,220
Pre-monsoon_Rice: 1,540
Summer_Rice: 1,540

phU (c)

Stockholm Environment Institute

65

66

District

Jalpaiguri
Jalpaiguri
Jalpaiguri
Jalpaiguri
Jalpaiguri
Jalpaiguri
Jalpaiguri
Jalpaiguri
Jalpaiguri
Cooch Behar
Cooch Behar
Cooch Behar
Cooch Behar
Cooch Behar
Cooch Behar
Cooch Behar
Cooch Behar

Block

Alipurduar I
Dhupguri
Falakata
Kalchini
Madarihat
Mal
Maynaguri
Metiali
Nagrakata
Cooch Behar I
Dinhata I
Dinhata II
Mathabhanga I
Mathabhanga II
Mekhliganj
Sitai
Sitalkuchi
Total

Source of data: DPDWB (2005)

Deep Tubewell
Canal
Tank
River Lift
Area
Area
Area
Area
No.
No.
No.
(ha)
(% of total)
(ha) (% of total)
(ha)
(% of total)
(ha)
(% of total)
2,000
39%
2
300
6% 16
640
13%
4
160
3%
3,020
40%
2
300
4% 40 1,200
16%
9
360
5%
3,000
44%
1
200
3% 29
820
12%
6
240
4%
1,350
58%
1
50
2%
8
240
10%
3,540
55%
1
100
2% 13
380
6%
2
820
13%
2,240
49%
1
100
2% 33
900
20%
2
80
2%
1,600
23%
3
300
4% 56 1,800
26% 10
400
6%
1,000
50%
1
100
5% 14
280
14%
1,400
61%
1
100
4% 10
240
10%
200
1% 10
395
2% 33 8,844
42% 13 5,440
26%
150
1% 48
690
6% 43
772
7% 19
543
5%
40
0%
2
35
0% 23 1,265
15% 22 1,730
20%
200
4%
3
150
3% 32
368
8%
8
498
11%
240
2% 10
318
3% 32
330
3% 10 3,802
39%
100
2% 26
64
1% 20
532
12% 12
410
9%
50
1% 30
120
3% 14
418
11%
5
235
6%
230
2% 27
355
2% 23
326
2% 10 8,230
56%
20,360
17% 169 3,677
3% 439 19,355
16% 132 22,948
19%

Table A.3: Sources of irrigation per administrative blocks containing the Jaldhaka watershed,
year 2004/5

Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment

District

Jalpaiguri
Jalpaiguri
Jalpaiguri
Jalpaiguri
Jalpaiguri
Jalpaiguri
Jalpaiguri
Jalpaiguri
Jalpaiguri
Cooch Behar
Cooch Behar
Cooch Behar
Cooch Behar
Cooch Behar
Cooch Behar
Cooch Behar
Cooch Behar

Block

Alipurduar I
Dhupguri
Falakata
Kalchini
Madarihat
Mal
Maynaguri
Metiali
Nagrakata
Cooch Behar I
Dinhata I
Dinhata II
Mathabhanga I
Mathabhanga II
Mekhliganj
Sitai
Sitalkuchi
Total

Shallow Tubewell
Dugwell
Area
Area
No.
No.
(ha)
(% of total)
(ha) (% of total)
94
188
4%
200
200
4%
372
744
10%
190
190
3%
266
532
8%
340
340
5%
180
180
8%
29
58
1%
300
300
5%
152
304
7%
250
250
5%
366
732
11%
180
180
3%
160
160
8%
55
55
2%
5,459 5,762
27%
11
209
1%
4,946 8,500
72%
123
418
4%
4,022 4,876
57%
108
115
1%
2,694 2,133
45% 1,651
876
19%
5,183 4,581
47%
65
130
1%
1,000 1,193
27% 3,423 1,590
36%
1,412 2,527
67%
51
237
6%
3,056 5,138
35%
41
108
1%
29,051 37,268
30% 7,328 5,538
5%
1,380
1,900
2,090
115
30
760
1,930
40
45
117
97
28
137
92
298
8
16
9,083

No.

Others
Total
Area
Area
No.
(ha)
(% of total)
(ha)
(% of total)
1,626
32% 1,696
5,114
100%
1,715
23% 2,513
7,529
100%
1,649
24% 2,732
6,781
100%
493
21%
304
2,313
100%
1,200
19%
375
6,398
100%
693
15% 1,198
4,567
100%
1,818
27% 2,545
6,830
100%
480
24%
215
2,020
100%
500
22%
111
2,295
100%
342
2% 5,643 21,192
100%
693
6% 5,276 11,766
100%
454
5% 4,205
8,515
100%
504
11% 4,525
4,729
100%
344
4% 5,392
9,745
100%
471
11% 4,779
4,360
100%
162
4% 1,520
3,749
100%
219
1% 3,173 14,606
100%
13,363
11% 46,202 122,509
100%

Stockholm Environment Institute

67

68

variable
analysed

Evapotranspiration

Shallow
groundwater
recharge

Shallow
groundwater baseflow

Streamflows

calibration
step

output.
hru

Average
monthly

output.
rch

output.
hru

Average
monthly

Daily

output.
hru

output
file considered

Average
monthly

Simulation time
step

Table A.4: SWAT calibration steps.

CH_N(1)
CH_N(2)

rte

RCHRG_DP

gw
sub

GWQMIN

GW_DELAY

gw

gw

Sol_K

sol

ALPHA_BF

CN2

mgt1

gw

CN2

Sol_Z

sol

mgt1

AWC

sol

calibration parameter
Table
parameter

Increase

Increase

Decrease

Decrease

Decrease

Decrease

Decrease

Option

Increase

Increase

Increase

change
applied

Buffer the
runoff

Buffer the
baseflow

Decrease
recharge

Increase ETa

Why?

0.5

0.3

2,150 mm

0.002

0 days

Wherever slope > 3%: x 0.1

Varies with slope

FRSJ, soils group A: 37


FRSJ, soils B &C: 77
FRMJ, soils group A: 39
FRMJ, soils group B & C: 80
TEAB, soils group B & C: 82
Agricultural units, soils group A: 63
Agricultural units, soils group B & C: 90
Irrigated Monsoon_Rice Summer_Rice,
all soils: 95
VIFA, all soils: 93

FRSJ, soils group A: x 2


FRMJ, soils group A: x 1.5
Agricultural units, soils group B & C: Sol_
Z2 = 3000 mm

FRSJ, all soils: 0.25, 0.15


FRMJ, all soils: 0.30, 0.25
Agricultural units, soils group B & C: 0.25,
0.15

final values

Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment

Adapted from Cai and Sharma (2010).

Figure A.1: Example of the groundtruthing form (site GT 35) filled by the field assistants

Stockholm Environment Institute

69

Application of SWAT and a Groundwater Model for Impact Assessment

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72

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SEI - Tallinn
Lai 34, Box 160
EE -10502, Tallinn
Estonia
Tel: +372 6 276 100
SEI - U.S.
11 Curtis Avenue
Somerville, MA 02144
USA
Tel: +1 617 627-3786
SEI - York
University of York
Heslington
York YO10 5DD
Uk
Tel: +44 1904 43 2897

The Stockholm Environment Institute


SEI is an independent, international research institute. It has been
engaged in environment and development issues at local, national,
regional and global policy levels for more than a quarter of a century.
SEI supports decision making for sustainable development by
bridging science and policy.

sei-international.org