Simulation of rainfall runoff and pollutant load for Chikugo River basin in Japan using a GIS-based distributed parameter model

Le Van Chinh, Haruka Iseri, Kazuaki Hiramatsu, Masayoshi Harada, Makito Mori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


In watershed management, the determination of peak and total runoff due to rainfall and prediction of pollutant load are very important. Measurement of rainfall runoff and pollutant load is always the best approach but is not always possible at the desired time and location. In practice, diffuse pollution has a complex natural dependence on various land-use activities such as agriculture, livestock breeding, and forestry. Estimation of pollutant load is therefore essential for watershed management and water pollution control. In this study, a model of rainfall runoff and pollutant load, which uses a geographical information system (GIS) database, is a convenient and powerful tool for resolving the abovementioned complexities. This technology was applied in order to simulate the runoff discharge and the pollutant load of total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP) in the Chikugo River basin of Kyushu Island, Japan. First, a hydrologic modeling system (HEC-HMS) and GIS software extension tool were used for simulations of elevation, drainage line definition, watershed delineation, drainage feature characterization, and geometric network generation. The spatial distributions of land cover, soil classes, rainfall, and evaporation were then analyzed in order to simulate the daily runoff discharge at the Chikugo Barrage from April 2005 to December 2007. An important point in this approach is that a new development for data input processing with HEC-HMS was introduced for optimizing parameters of the model. Next, the water quality indicators TN and TP were examined, and an efficient approach was investigated for estimating monthly pollutant loads directly from unit load and ground-observed hydrological data. Both nonpoint and point sources of pollutants were considered, including different land-cover categories, sewers, factories, and livestock farms. The observed and simulated results for the runoff discharges and pollutant loads were in good agreement and totally consistent, indicating that the proposed model is applicable to simulation of rainfall runoff and pollutant load in the Chikugo River basin. Further, this model will be able to provide managers with a useful tool for optimizing the water surface management of this river basin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-112
Number of pages16
JournalPaddy and Water Environment
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Water Science and Technology


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