Comparing the performance of semi-distributed SWAT and lumped HEC-HMS hydrological models in simulating river discharge (Case study: Ab-Bakhsha Watershed)

Document Type : Research Article


1 MSc student of water engineering, Water Engineering Department, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Kerman, Iran

2 MSc graduate student of water resources management, Water Engineering Department, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Kerman, Iran

3 Assistant professor, Water Engineering Department, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Kerman, Iran


In many flood control projects, watershed management and water resources development, calculation of the river flow discharge is of the paramount importance which requires a comprehensive hydrological modeling of the region of interest. In this respect, lack of the existence of hydrometric and meteorology measuring stations in most of watersheds, has caused numerous problems in development and management of water resources planning. The hydrological models which are used to simulate watersheds are generally categorized into two groups of lumped anddistributed models. In this study SWAT and HEC-HMS models were used to compare the capability of semi-distributed and lumped models in watershed simulation. For this, 31-year data of Abakhsha Watershed - including the whole information of hydrometer and meteorology stations in the region which are located in Bardsir County in Kerman province - have been used. The obtained results indicate that both models have acceptable accuracy; however, semi-distributed SWAT model is superior to HEC-HMS model. Being semi-distributed is one of the most important reasons for SWAT’s superiority which gets the advantage of considering climate components and using hydrological response units.


Main Subjects

1[ علیزاده، امین، اصول هیدرولوژی کاربردی، چاپ پنجم، انتشارات آستان قدس رضوی، 1380، 735 صفحه.
[2] جهانگیر، محمد‌حسین‌؛ صادقی، سعید‌؛ سلیمانی، حدیث. 1393. «تخمین مقدار دبی حداکثر سیلاب با استفاده از روش SCS برای مدیریت اراضی زیر‌حوضه‏های منطقه کن»، مجلۀ اکوهیدرولوژی، دورۀ 1، ش 1، صص 47-57
 [3] Abbaspour, K. C. Yang, J. Maximov, I. Siber, R. Bogner, K. Mieleitner, J. Zobrist, J. and Srinivasan, R., 2007, Modelling hydrology and water quality in the pre-alpine/alpine Thur watershed using SWAT, Journal of Hydrology, 333 2-4,. 413-430.
[4] Abbaspour, K. C., 2011, User Manual for SWAT-CUP4, SWAT Calibration and Uncertainty Analysis Programs, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Eawag, Duebendorf. Switzerland, from
[5] De Silva, M. Weerakoon, S. & Herath, S.,2014, Modeling of Event and Continuous Flow Hydrographs with HEC–HMS: Case Study in the Kelani River Basin, Sri Lanka. Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, 19(4), 800-806.
[6] Faramarzi, M. Abbaspour, K. C. Schulin, R. and Yang, H., 2009, Modelling blue and green water resources availability in Iran, Hydrological Processes, 23, 486–501.
[7] Fleming, M. & Neary, V., 2004, Continuous Hydrologic Modeling Study with the Hydrologic Modeling System, Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, 9(3), 175-183.
[8] Jahangeer, A. R., Raeini Sarjaz, M., & Ahmadi, M. Z. 2009. Comparison of artificial neural networks (ANN) simulation of rainfall-runoff process with HEC-HMS model in Kardeh watershed. journal of Soil and Water, 22(2), 72-84. (In Persian)
[9] Knebl, M. R, Yang, Z. L, Hutchison, K. & Maidment, D. R., 2005, Regional scale flood modeling using NEXRAD rainfall, GIS, and HEC-HMS/RAS: a case study for the San Antonio River Basin Summer 2002 storm event, Journal of Environmental Management, 75(4), 325-336.
[10] Li, K.Y. Coe, M.T. Ramankutty, N. and De Jong, R., 2007, Modeling the hydrological impact of land-change in West Africa, J. of Hydro., 337: 258-268.
[11] Lirong, S. and Jianyun, Z., 2012, Hydrological Response to Climate Change in Beijiang River Basin Based on the SWAT Model, Procedia Engineering 28 (2012) 241 – 245
[12] McColl. Chris, & Aggett. Graeme, 2007, Land-use forecasting and hydrologic model integration for improved land-use decision support, Journal of Environmental Management, 84(4), 494-512.
[13] Meselhe. E, Habib. E, Oche. O, & Gautam. S, 2009, Sensitivity of Conceptual and Physically Based Hydrologic Models to Temporal and Spatial Rainfall Sampling, Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, 14(7), 711-720.
[14] Moriasi, D. N. Arnold, J. G. Van Liew, M. W. Binger, R. L. Harmel, R. D. and Veith, T., 2007, Model evaluation guidelines for systematic quantification of accuracy in watershed simulations, Transactions of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers, 50 (3), 885-900.
[15] Olivera, F., 2001, Extracting Hydrologic Information from Spatial Data for HMS Modeling, Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, 6(6), 524-530.
[16] Santra, Priyabrata. & Das, Bhabani Sankar., 2013, Modeling runoff from an agricultural watershed of western catchment of Chilika lake through ArcSWAT, Journal of Hydro-environment Research, 7(4), 261-269.
[17] Sharpley, A. N. and Williams, J. R., 1990, EPIC-Erosion Productivity Impact Calculator, 1. Model documentation. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Tech. Bull. 1768.
[18] Wang, S. Shaozhong, K. Lu, Z. and Fusheng, L., 2008, Modelling hydrological response to different land-use andclimate change scenarios in the Zamu River basin of northwest China. J. Hydro. Proc., 22: 2502-2510.
Volume 2, Issue 4
January 2016
Pages 467-479
  • Receive Date: 10 August 2015
  • Revise Date: 18 April 2016
  • Accept Date: 10 March 2016
  • First Publish Date: 10 March 2016
  • Publish Date: 22 December 2015