A conceptual model of daily water balance following partial clearing from forest to pasture
Abstract. A simple conceptual water balance model representing the streamflow generation processes on a daily time step following land use change is presented. The model consists of five stores: (i) Dry, Wet and Subsurface Stores for vertical and lateral water flow, (ii) a transient Stream zone Store (iii) a saturated Goundwater Store. The soil moisture balance in the top soil Dry and Wet Stores are the most important components of the model and characterize the dynamically varying saturated areas responsible for surface runoff, interflow and deep percolation. The Subsurface Store describes the unsaturated soil moisture balance, extraction of percolated water by vegetation and groundwater recharge. The Groundwater Store controls the baseflow to stream (if any) and the groundwater contribution to the stream zone saturated areas. The daily model was developed following a downward approach by analysing data from Ernies (control) and Lemon (53% cleared) catchments in Western Australia and elaborating a monthly model. The daily model performed very well in simulating daily flow generation processes for both catchments. Most of the model parameters were incorporated a priori from catchment attributes such as surface slope, soil depth, porosity, stream length and initial groundwater depth, and some were calibrated by matching the observed and predicted hydrographs. The predicted groundwater depth, and streamflow volumes across all time steps from daily to monthly to annual were in close agreement with observations for both catchments.