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Modeling water quality in watersheds: From here to the next generation

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-03, 18:24 authored by Baihua 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, Val SnowVal Snow, B. Rashleigh
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.


Rights statement

©2020. The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


  • English

Does this contain Māori information or data?

  • No


American Geophysical Union

Journal title

Water Resources Research




Fu, B., Horsburgh, J. S., Jakeman, A. J., Gualtieri, C., Arnold, T., Marshall, L., … Rashleigh, B. (2020). Modeling water quality in watersheds: From here to the next generation. Water Resources Research, 56(11), e2020WR027721. doi:10.1029/2020WR027721

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