A GIS-Based Interactive Decision Making Tool for Watershed Management

by Amey Parandekar,
S. Ranji Ranjithan,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: WRPMD'99: Preparing for the 21st Century

Abstract: (No paper) BASINS—Better Assessment Science Integrating Point and Nonpoint Sources, a geographical information system- (GIS-) based tool developed and released by the US EPA, provides a convenient interactive framework for watershed management. Within the current scope of BASINS, a user can employ existing computational utilities embedded within this tool to develop alternative total maximum daily load (TMDL) strategies to achieve desired water quality targets. Although these utilities allow quick trial-and-error capabilities to help the user explore a large number of alternatives, they do not include the necessary procedures for a systematic search to identify good strategies. Ongoing work by the authors focus on developing and implementing prototypes of extensions to BASINS to incorporate additional systems analytic tools that will enhance the watershed management capabilities of BASINS, including: automated search for feasible TMDL strategies; generation of a small number of good alternative strategies that are maximally different from each other, providing the user a choice of TMDL strategies that can be used for further trial-and-error search; estimation of uncertainty in achieving water quality targets; and comparison of economic implications of watershed management strategies. The presentation will describe and demonstrate the current capabilities of BASINS and its extensions.

Subject Headings: Watersheds | Basins | Decision making | Clean Water Act | Water quality | Geographic information systems | System analysis | Economic factors | Nonpoint pollution | Colorado River

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