EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Evaluation of the water response in a Mediterranean karstic catchment (SE Spain) with the SIMPA and SWAT models

Antonio Jodar1,2, Teresa Palacios - Cabrera3, Ryan T. Bailey4, Pablo Melgarejo - Moreno6, Pilar Legua - Murcia6, and Enas E. Hussein5
Antonio Jodar et al.
  • 1University of Granada, Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, Campus Universitario de Cartuja, Departamento de Análisis Geográfico Regional y Geografía Física, Granada, Spain (
  • 2University Institute of Water and Environmental Sciences. University of Alicante (Spain).
  • 3Faculty of Geology, Mines, Petroleum and Environmental Engineering. Central University of Ecuador.
  • 4Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA.
  • 5National Water Research Center, Shubra El-Kheima 13411, Egypt
  • 6Centro de Investigación e Innovación Agroalimentario y Agroambiental (CIAGRO), Miguel Hernández University (UMH). Orihuela, Spain.


Hydrological modelling in karst environments is a difficult task due to the inherent complexity of the karst system and the usual lack of information about its geometrical description. The hydrological processes of karst systems in Mediterranean semiarid environments are particularly difficult to simulate mathematically due to the pattern of long dry periods and short wet periods. In this study, we tested the ability of the open-source SWAT hydrologic modelling code to simulate the behaviour and hydrologic output of a karstic watershed in a Mediterranean semiarid environment (SE Spain). Calibration and first validation were accomplished using a 20-year and 10-year record of stream water discharge, respectively, at the catchment outlet. Additional testing of the model was accomplished using groundwater discharge data from four natural springs in the watershed and by comparing the results of the SWAT model with the SIMPA model (a hydrological model used by the Spanish national water authority to simulate the water balance among others). Likewise, an adapted form of the Nash-Sutcliffe Efficiency (NSE) index for arid environments, ANSE, is presented. Based on results, the simulated behaviour was good and very good (with ANSE values of 0.96 and 0.78 for the calibration and validation periods respectively). SWAT and SIMPA results provide spatial distributions of the main hydrological processes of the watershed, such as aquifer recharge, actual evapotranspiration, and surface runoff, being verified as useful tools for water policy managers in karstic environments.


Water balance; karst aquifer springs; SWAT; SIMPA; ANSE index; Mediterranean karstic catchment.





How to cite: Jodar, A., Palacios - Cabrera, T., Bailey, R. T., Melgarejo - Moreno, P., Legua - Murcia, P., and Hussein, E. E.: Evaluation of the water response in a Mediterranean karstic catchment (SE Spain) with the SIMPA and SWAT models, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-1390,, 2022.