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Model Report


Last Revision Date: 10/31/2014 View as PDF
General Information Back to Top
Model Abbreviated Name:

Model Extended Name:

Model Overview/Abstract:
HSPF can be used to simulate water and constituent movement within both watersheds and their receiving waterbodies including rivers, streams, and well-mixed lakes and reservoirs. The model can be applied to watersheds of various sizes, and can handle both rural and urban land uses. On impervious land, HSPF simulates build-up and washoff of pollutants, and subsequent delivery into streams, but does not explicitly simulate movement through storm drainage networks. HSPF was initially developed in the early 80's based on the Stanford Watershed Model (SWM) and four other models.

HSPF is a continuous-simulation, lumped parameter model that is driven by meteorological data, typically using a one-hour time step.

The model has algorithms to simulate the major features of hydrology within a watershed (rainfall- runoff, evapotranspiration, interception, snowmelt, interflow, groundwater discharge to streams, etc.), and can simulate the fate and transport of a wide variety of pollutants as they move over and through the landscape, and into and through a stream network.

HSPF can simulate both point and non-point sources of pollutants. Organized in modules defined largely by pollutant categories, the model can simulate conservative tracers, sediments in three size classes, pesticides, nutrients, and general quality constituents.

  • Conservative tracers are modeled according to simple transport with no on-land or in-stream reactions;
  • Sediment simulation processes include scour and gully erosion on the land surface, and sediment deposition and scour in stream and river reaches;
  • Pesticide fate and transport includes a number of degradation processes and adsorption/desorption;
  • Phosphorous and nitrogen are modeled with complete on-land and in-stream nutrient cycle reactions involving oxygen, heat balance, and phytoplankton;

General quality constituents are any user-specified pollutant that can be reasonably represented by a build-up/washoff phenomenon on land segments and by first order degradation in reaches and/or reservoirs.

Keywords: Watershed modeling, Pollutant loadings, TMDLs, Hydrology, Fate and Transport, Nutrients, Sediments, Pesticides
Model Technical Contact Information:
Lisa Larimer
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Water, Office of Science and Technology
Model Homepage: http://www.epa.gov/ceampubl/swater/hspf/

User Information Back to Top
Technical Requirements
Computer Hardware
200MHz or higher Pentium with a minimum of 300MB of disk space
Compatible Operating Systems
Microsoft Windows 95, 98, 2000, XP
Other Software Required to Run the Model
Distributed with BASINS: run using WinHSPF. Or can run manually in DOS mode.
Download Information
Using the Model
Basic Model Inputs
Meteorological time (hourly) series: precipitation, potential evapotransporation, air temperature
Basic Model Outputs
Primarily time series of mean daily flow and concentration at specific locations
User Support
User's Guide Available?
The User's Guide is Available at http://www.epa.gov/ceampubl/swater/hspf/

Other User Documents
Technical notes:

Availability of User Support
Available through BASINS listserve, and through OST Modeling team.

User Qualifications
Knowledge of hydrologic cycle, and pollutant fate and transport fundamentals are essential. Specific training in HSPF (e.g. having attended a one-week training course) is highly desirable, as model is quite complex, and may take time to master.

Model Science Back to Top
Problem Identification
Hydrological Simulation Program - FORTRAN (HSPF) is a comprehensive tool for simulation of watershed hydrology and water quality, for both conventional and organic or inorganic pollutants.
Summary of Model Structure and Methods
HSPF incorporates watershed-scale ARM and NPS models into an analysis framework that includes fate and transport on pervious and impervious landscapes, and within one dimensional stream channels. HSPF provides a lumped-parameter simulation of watershed hydrology and water quality that allows the integrated simulation of land and soil contaminant runoff processes with in-stream hydraulic and sediment-chemical interactions. The result of this simulation is time series of estimated stream flows, and sediment and pollutant concentrations, along with time series representing water quantity and pollutant loads from landscapes directly to waterbodies. HSPF simulates three sediment types (sand, silt, and clay) in addition to a single labile chemical, and its transformation products.

The model uses mixed U.S. / S.I. units and flexible (user-defined) units.

The model provides mathematical guidance to assist the user when selecting modeling parameters.

Governing equations are solved numerically.
Model Evaluation

Code verification has been performed.

Substantial model testing (evaluation) has been performed.

Model has been internally and externally peer reviewed.

Case Studies
See http://www.epa.gov/ceampubl/swater/hspf/

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