Project Description

Fellow: ESR1 - Carla Camargos Host institution: Justus Liebig University Giessen Duration: 36 months Planned start date: November 2014
Actual start date: November 2014
Project title: Landscapes as generators of water resources for urban areas – uncertainty of the impact of agriculture on water quality and quantity (WP1, WP4, WP6)
Supervisor name: Prof. Dr Lutz Breuer & Dr Martin Bach PhD enrolment: Y


  • Investigate the full water quality model uncertainty chain from landscapes to urban areas through coupled uncertainty studies.
  • Assess structural model uncertainty in a deterministic and probabilistic fashion.
  • Develop a strategy to investigate model uncertainty chain from landscape to urban area.

Tasks and methodology: Obtain urban water system data and model from TUDOR on Haute-Sûre region and build and calibrate and validate a SWAT model, and then assess water quantity, N, P and sediment load estimation depending on land use. Use the new tool developed by Wu and Liu1 in a novel way so as to investigate uncertainty in a formalized way and to assess spatial and also structural model uncertainties. Investigate the uncertainty of model input parameters (soil and vegetation properties) with the recently published SWAT-R flexible modelling environment. Evaluate stochastic uncertainty by studying different spatial scales of model input (land use, topography, soil data, climate) and validation data (discharge and solute loads).

Results: Ready-to-use SWAT tools to investigate model parameter and also structure uncertainty (D1.4, D6.1)

A strategy to investigate the entire model uncertainty chain of water quantity and quality in rural landscapes so as to provide probabilistic outputs to urban modelling end-users (D4.1).

Dissemination: Journal publications on comparing structural and stochastic uncertainty in catchment scale modelling, spatial uncertainty of projections and uncertainty propagation from rural to urban systems. Blog and social media. Two presentation/year as MC Ambassador. Annual conference presentation. Themed walks for public.

Planned secondments: 5 month secondment to WU to work on spatial uncertainty assessment. 3 month secondment to TUDOR,  to study the TUDOR case study catchment and data, followed by a 2 month secondment to TUDOR to calibrate/validate new SWAT tool using TUDOR case study data.

1 Wu and Liu (2012). Automating calibration, sensitivity and uncertainty analysis of complex models using the R package Flexible Modeling Environment (FME): SWAT as an example. Environmental Modelling & Software,