Comparison of SWAT and WEPP for Modeling Annual Runoff and Sediment Yield in Agewu - Mariyam Watershed, Northern Ethiopia

Yalelet Abie Worku, Awdenegest Moges, Hailu Kendie


The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) and the Geographic Water Erosion Prediction Project (Geo-WEPP) were applied to compare modeling of annual runoff and sediment yield in the Agewmariam watershed, eastern Amhara Region, Ethiopia. Spatial and temporal data distributions were required as inputs to run both models. Soil texture and other soil properties were measured in the field and in the laboratory, and soil maps were generated from global digital soil maps. Land use maps were created by manually digitizing Google Earth images. Watersheds were defined using watershed DEMs and gradient maps were created for each runoff event. Runoff samples were collected and analyzed for sediment concentrations in the laboratory; average annual runoff and sediment volumes were estimated using the WEPP and SWAT models. The results were satisfactory compared to the observed values, with R2 values of 0.86 and 0.91 for the SWAT and WEPP models, respectively, and NSE values of 0.54 and 0.71 for the monthly runoff. The estimated annual mean runoff and sediment yield at the watershed outlets were 65.54 mm, 146.14 mm, 43t/ha/yr and 41.7t/ha/yr for the WEPP and SWAT models, respectively. Several sub watersheds were determined to be susceptible to soil erosion and were prioritized, so more attention was given to this area to reduce runoff and soil erosion. Therefore, the SWAT and WEPP models were suitable for estimating annual runoff and sediment volumes. Sediment yields simulated from both models were high and alarming and far exceeded the allowable rate of soil loss.

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