Modeling the impacts of best management practices (BMPs) on pollution reduction in the Yarra River catchment, Australia

Amimul Ahsan, Sushil K. Das, Md Habibur Rahman Bejoy Khan, Anne W.M. Ng, Nadhir Al-Ansari, Shakil Ahmed, Monzur Imteaz, Muhammad A.U.R. Tariq, Md Shafiquzzaman

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    Pollution of a watershed by different land uses and agricultural practices is becoming a major challenging factor that results in deterioration of water quality affecting human health and ecosystems. Sustainable use of available water resources warrants reduction of Non-Point Source (NPS) pollutants from receiving water bodies through best management practices (BMPs). A hydrologic model such as the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) can be used for analyzing the impacts of various BMPs and implementing of different management plans for water quality improvement, which will help decision makers to determine the best combination of BMPs to maximize benefits. The objective of this study is to assess the potential reductions of sediments and nutrient loads by utilizing different BMPs on the Yarra River watershed using the SWAT model. The watershed is subdivided into 51 sub-watersheds where seven different BMPs were implemented. A SWAT model was developed and calibrated against a baseline period of 1998–2008. For calibration and validation of the model simulations for both the monthly and annual nutrients and sediments were assessed by using the Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency (NSE) statistical index. The values of the NSE were found more than 0.50 which indicates satisfactory model predictions. By utilizing different BMPs, the highest pollution reduction with minimal costs can be done by 32% targeted mixed-crop area. Furthermore, the combined effect of five BMPs imparts most sediments and nutrient reductions in the watershed. Overall, the selection of a BMP or combinations of BMPs should be set based on the goals set in a BMP application project.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number98
    JournalApplied Water Science
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023


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