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Dry season baseflow, but how to determine impact?


I'm looking for some clarification on the link between RIOS and InVEST regarding the objective to improve "dry season baseflow".

I'm looking at a catchment where improvements in baseflow could have impacts on irrigation frequency during the dry season. RIOS can optimize landscape interventions to address baseflow, and recommends assessing the before/after change using InVEST Water Yield model. However, the WY model does not distinguish between surface water, subsurface water, and baseflow. 

Naturally, landscape interventions that improve infiltration would likely decrease surface flow (decreasing the catchment WY) and increase baseflow (increasing the catchment WY). Therefore, an increase or decrease in WY tells us nothing about either baseflow or surface flow. 

Am I making sense? And has anyone an idea of how to prove impact on baseflow? Thanks in advance for thoughts!


  • PerrinePerrine Moderator, NatCap Staff
    Hi jelliso,

    Good points here also, you are right to say that the annual water yield shouldn't be used to study baseflow.

    We are currently working on the seasonal water yield model, which will be used to do exactly this, i.e. give an estimate of the possible effect of LULC change on baseflow.

    This question of the LULC change effect on baseflow is still very difficult to answer without a good understanding of the hydrogeology of a region. If your basin is relatively well studied, referring to the local literature will be a better option than using a non-calibrated generic model.

    Having said that, we are hoping to provide a beta version of the seasonal water yield model in the next few months. The release will be posted on this forum.


  • Hi Perrine,

    It's great to hear that a seasonal water yield model is in the making. It would be great to be able to see the impact of different scenarios on the potential increase in base flow - which for uni- or bi-modal rainfall areas - can mean enhanced ability to irrigate during the dry season. This is a benefit that is otherwise very difficult to predict.

  • Hi Perrine,

    Just curious: Are you able to make an updated estimate of when the Seasonal Water Yield model might become available? 

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