Stochastic Watershed Water Quality Simulation for TMDL Development – A Case Study in the Newport Bay Watershed1


  • Yi Zheng,

    1. Assistant Professor, Department of Energy and Resources Engineering and Center for Water Research, Peking University, Beijing, China
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  • Arturo A. Keller

    1. Professor, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, 3420 Bren Hall, University of California, Santa Barbara, California 93106.
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  • 1

    Paper No. JAWRA-07-0116-P of the Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA). Discussions are open until February 1, 2009.



Abstract:  Systematic consideration of uncertainty in data, model structure, and other factors is generally unaddressed in most Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) calculations. Our previous studies developed the Management Objectives Constrained Analysis of Uncertainty (MOCAU) approach as an uncertainty analysis technique specifically for watershed water quality models, based on a synthetic case. In this study, we applied MOCAU to analyze diazinon loading in the Newport Bay watershed (Southern California). The study objectives included (1) demonstrating the value of performing stochastic simulation and uncertainty analysis for TMDL development, using MOCAU as the technique and (2) evaluating the existing diazinon TMDL and generating insights for the development of scientifically sound TMDLs, considering uncertainty. The Watershed Analysis Risk Management Framework model was used as an example of a complex watershed model. The study revealed the importance and feasibility of conducting stochastic watershed water quality simulation for TMDL development. The critical role of management objectives in a systematic uncertainty assessment was well demonstrated. The results of this study are intuitive to TMDL calculation, model structure improvement and sampling strategy design.