Soil-Water-Balance (SWB): A modified Thornthwaite-Mather model for estimating groundwater recharge

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The Soil-Water-Balance (SWB) model has been developed to allow estimates of potential recharge to be made quickly and easily. The code calculates components of the water balance at a daily time-step by means of a modified version of the Thornthwaite-Mather soil-moisture-balance approach.

Illustration showing some of the soil-water-balance data inputs
Data requirements for the soil-water-balance model.

The Soil-Water-Balance (SWB) model has been developed to allow estimates of potential recharge to be made quickly and easily. The code calculates components of the water balance at a daily timestep by means of a modified version of the Thornthwaite-Mather soil-moisture-balance approach. Data requirements include several commonly available tabular and gridded data types:

(1) precipitation, and minimum and maximum air temperature (tabular or gridded)

(2) land-use classification (gridded)

(3) hydrologic soil group (gridded)

(4) flow direction (gridded)

(5) soil-water capacity (gridded)

The data and formats required are designed to take advantage of widely available GIS datasets and file structure

 

Download the SWB model, or access complete documentation of the SWB source code on SWB’s publicly accessible GitHub repositorySWB is known to run on Windows (XP/7) and Linux platforms. There should be no problems running the code on Macintosh hardware, but this has not been attempted by the authors.