Modeling Water Quality in Watersheds: From Here to the Next Generation

B. Fu*, J. S. Horsburgh, A. J. Jakeman, C. Gualtieri, T. Arnold, L. Marshall, T. R. Green, N. W.T. Quinn, M. Volk, R. J. Hunt, L. Vezzaro, B. F.W. Croke, J. D. Jakeman, V. Snow, B. Rashleigh

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    54 Citations (Scopus)


    In this synthesis, we assess present research and anticipate future development needs in modeling water quality in watersheds. We first discuss areas of potential improvement in the representation of freshwater systems pertaining to water quality, including representation of environmental interfaces, in-stream water quality and process interactions, soil health and land management, and (peri-)urban areas. In addition, we provide insights into the contemporary challenges in the practices of watershed water quality modeling, including quality control of monitoring data, model parameterization and calibration, uncertainty management, scale mismatches, and provisioning of modeling tools. Finally, we make three recommendations to provide a path forward for improving watershed water quality modeling science, infrastructure, and practices. These include building stronger collaborations between experimentalists and modelers, bridging gaps between modelers and stakeholders, and cultivating and applying procedural knowledge to better govern and support water quality modeling processes within organizations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere2020WR027721
    JournalWater Resources Research
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


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