Identifying critical source areas of nonpoint source pollution in a watershed with SWAT–ECM and AHP methods

Qiang Wu, Hui Yu
2021 Hydrology Research  
Identification of critical source areas (CSAs) is pivotal for the management of nonpoint source (NPS) pollution of watersheds. Most studies focus on source (S) factors and ignore the driving (D) factors of such pollution. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model and the export coefficient method (ECM) were incorporated to quantify the S factors of ammonia nitrogen (NH4–N) and total phosphorus (TP) as NPS pollution. Specifically, S factors coupled with D factors, including precipitation,
more » ... lope, soil and land use, were regarded as multi–factors. Moreover, the analytical hierarchy process (AHP) method was adopted to determine the respective weights of multi–factors after overlaying the factor maps to identify the CSAs. These CSAs accounted for 23.86% of the total area, and generated 54.94% of NH4–N and 42.59% of the TP loads. In contrast with single and multi–factors, we found that using multi–factors having differing weights was more accurate for identifying CSAs. Our study results indicate this approach is reasonable for CSAs' identification in watersheds, and it can provide insights into different pollution sources and migration, thus providing a sounder basis for future decision–making.
doi:10.2166/nh.2021.010 fatcat:wjdzw44o2rfd3imtvii2i6kxde