Quantifying bacteria fluxes and contaminants from the point and nonpoint sources in a watershed are important for the management of water quality and safeguard public health. Therefore, the appropriate characterization of bacteria from different sources is necessary for understanding of fate and transport of bacteria in watersheds. However, it is challenging to simulate the effects of pH on bacteria, such as Escherichia coli (E. coli) in the original version of Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT). This study aimed to augment SWAT-bacteria module to evaluate the potential effect of pH on E. coli concentrations. We modified SWAT-bacteria module to incorporate pH factor and to check E. coli observations from four sites of Athabasca River Basin. The modified SWAT-bacteria model demonstrated a linear relationship between observed and simulated daily E. coli data with R2 values found between 0.70 and 0.80; NSE: 0.59 and 0.68; PBIAS: 7.94% and 17.85% during calibration for all monitoring sites (2010–2012). While during the validation (2013–2014) the performance statistics found to be: R2: 0.59–0.72; NSE: 0.55–0.66; PBIAS: 10–22%. The results of the sensitivity analysis confirmed that pH is one of the most significant fate factors of E. coli. The modified SWAT-bacteria module provides an improved estimate of E. coli concentration from the river basin. This study contributes new insight to E. coli modelling. Therefore, the modified SWAT-bacteria model could be a powerful tool for the future regional to global scale model of E. coli concentrations thus significantly contribute for the application of effective river basin management.
|Journal||Journal of Hydrology|
|Publication status||Published - Mar. 2020|
- Bacteria fluxes
- Escherichia coli
- Soil and water assessment tool
- Water quality