Version 4.0 of the Better Assessment Science Integrating point and Nonpoint Sources (BASINS) software system functions the same as BASINS 3.1 except it runs on a non-proprietary, open source, free GIS system (PDF) (17 pp, 2.0MB, About PDF), making the tool universally available to anyone interested in facilitating examination of environmental information, supporting analysis of environmental systems, and providing a framework for examining management alternatives for watersheds.
Originally introduced in 1996 with subsequent releases in 1998, 2001, and 2004, BASINS is a multipurpose environmental analysis system designed for use by regional, state, and local agencies in performing watershed and water quality-based studies. This system makes it possible to quickly assess large amounts of point source and non-point source data in a format that is easy to use and understand. Installed on a personal computer, BASINS allows the user to assess water quality at selected stream sites or throughout an entire watershed. This invaluable tool integrates environmental data, analytical tools, and modeling programs to support development of cost-effective approaches to watershed management and environmental protection, including TMDLs.
What's new in BASINS?
The most significant change in BASINS 4.0 is its use of open source GIS software architecture. This open source GIS uses standard GIS files (shapefiles, dbf, and GeoTiff) which can be easily shared between other GIS software. BASINS 4.0 includes all of the functionality of BASINS 3.1 except the AGWA and SWAT models. But unlike BASINS 3.1, it provides the ability to quickly develop and create "plug-in" functions to update or enhance the watershed analysis process and monitor the environment.
BASINS 4.0 and BASINS 3.1 can co-exist under the same /BASINS/ folder and still function properly. BASINS 4.0 includes all of the functions of BASINS 3.1 except linkages to the AGWA and SWAT models.
BASINS includes a data extractor, projector, project builder, GIS interface, various GIS-based tools, a series of models, and custom databases. But instead of including the data on multiple CDs as in version 3.0, data are available entirely through a web data extraction tool. This web data extractor provides a tool for dynamic downloading of GIS data and databases from the BASINS web site and a variety of other sources. Other significant enhancements in version 3.1 include updated data holdings, a new tool to archive and restore BASINS projects, and a tool to update the BASINS software interactively.
Access to data in BASINS is web based. The user specifies a geographic area of interest and the software downloads appropriate data from EPA, USGS and other locations on the Internet. After the GIS data are downloaded, they are automatically extracted, projected to the user specified map projection, and a project file (".apr" for ArcView/BASINS 3.1 and ".mwprj" for MapWindow/BASINS 4.0) is built. This Web Data Download tool then allows the user to add additional data to the BASINS project from a variety of data sources, and to check for more recent data and updates as appropriate.
The BASINS Web Data Download tool also has a built-in function for installing updates to any of the BASINS components. This feature automatically checks all components of the BASINS application and the last update; and if any program components are found out of date, this tool downloads and installs those updates. Through this feature the BASINS users can be assured that they are running the most up-to-date software on surface waters and watersheds.
Version 3.1 includes several additional modeling capabilities. The Automated Geospatial Watershed Assessment (AGWA) tool features the USDA-ARS models KINEROS and SWAT. The Kinematic Runoff and Erosion Model (KINEROS) is an event oriented, physically based model that may be used to determine the effects of various artificial features such as urban developments, small detention reservoirs, or lined channels on flood hydrographs and sediment yield. Rosgen's Bank Erosion Hazard Index has been incorporated in the pollutant loading model as PLOAD-BEHI; this model is useful for simplified analyses of sediment issues. AQUATOX receives and automatically formats output from HPSF or SWAT in order to integrate watershed analysis with the likely effects on the aquatic biota in receiving waters. The new Parameter Estimation (PEST) tool in WinHSPF automates the model calibration process and allows users to quantify the uncertainty associated with specific model predictions.
- Summary Report for US EPA's Water Quality Modeling to Support Management Actions Workshop (PDF) (39 pp, 1,008KB, About PDF)
- BASINS and HSPF Model
- HSPF Bibliography
- SWAT Peer Reviewed Publications List
- SWAT Calibration/Validation
- Comparison of SWAT & HSPF
Download and additional information
For additional information about BASINS, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.