The following is a list of frequent questions. However, if you have a question that's not listed, you can search the monthly archives of the BASINS listserver.
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BASINS General Questions
Q: What is BASINS 4?
We released BASINS 4 in April 2007. The latest update is available on this web site; no CDs are necessary. Also, no licensed or proprietary GIS software are required because BASINS 4 runs on OPEN-SOURCE GIS software (MapWindow ).
BASINS 4.0 is based on a non-proprietary, open-source GIS foundation. By using open-source GIS tools and non-proprietary data formats, the core of BASINS becomes independent of any proprietary GIS platform while still accommodating users of several different GIS software platforms. The open-source GIS tool, MapWindow, was chosen for use in BASINS 4.0 because
- it is fully extensible using a plug-in extension interface,
- it has an active and supportive international developer community, and
- it supports both vector and raster data manipulation in most common file formats.
We anticipate that the use of open source software will provide BASINS with greater stability and transparency because the source code for all components—including the foundation GIS software—will always be available to end users.
Q: How does BASINS calculate stream width and depth values during manual and automatic watershed delineation?
A. BASINS implements a neural network, developed by Muttiah, et.al. (1997) to predict two-year peak stream discharge based on drainage area and elevation. It then estimates width and depth from the equations:
W = 1.22Q0.557and
D = 0.34Q0.341, derived from a regression analysis in Allen, et al (1994).
A neural network was trained separately for each two-digit USGS regional basin. Possible input parameters were limited to only those readily available from GIS operations. Each basin neural network was trained based on 75 to 1000 pairs of predicted and observed discharge values and then tested against an independent set of 47 to 559 test pairs. Best performance was found using just drainage area and elevation as independent variables. Correlation coefficients for the 17 regional basins ranged from 0.67 to 0.92 which compares favorably with previous regression results.
Muttiah, R.S., R. Srinivasan, and P.M Allen, 1997. Prediction of Two-year Peak Stream Discharges Using Neural Networks. J. American Water Resources Association. Vol. 33, No.3, June, 1997.
Using 674 data sets from the literature, regressions were performed to identify the best-fit coefficients and exponents in the equations: W = aQb; D = cQf; and V = kQm introduced by Leopold and Maddock (1953). Q was either bank-full discharge, two-year or 2.33 year frequency flows. Continuity requires that Q = WDV, so ack = 1 and b + f + m = 1. In the regression, Width, Depth and Velocity are treated as dependent variables with discharge (Q) independent, under the above continuity constraints. Width and depth predictions, made on an independent set of 41 data points showed, R-squared values of 0.95 and 0.87, respectively.
Allen, P.M., J.G. Arnold, and B.W. Byars, 1994. “Downstream Channel Geometry for Use in Planning-Level Models”, Water Resources Bulletin. Vol. 30, No. 4, August, 1994.
Leopold, L.B. and T. Maddock, 1953. "The Hydraulic Geometry of Stream Channels and Some Physiographic Implications", U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 252.
Q: Is there a new manual or a tutorial for using BASINS?
A: See the BASINS Users manual in the "basins\docs" folder. Tutorial instructions can be found at the end of each section starting with section 4.3. Also the new BASINS 3 Users Manual is available within your ArcView/BASINS project window under the "Help"-"BASINS Help" pulldown menu at the top right of the BASINS project window.
The BASINS 3.0 Users Manual is also available on the documentation page. A free printed copy of the manual is available from EPA's National Center for Environmental Publications. Please provide the publication number EPA-823B01001 with your order.
Q: What is the projection for BASINS data?
A: BASINS GIS data is provided as unprojected-decimal degrees. Users can project the data to their preferred projection using the "data extractor" as described in the users manual. It should be noted that the datum of the BASINS GIS data in NAD 83.
Q: Are there any tools that can be used to automate the calibration of HSPF/WinHSPF?
A: The software PEST can be run in conjunction with HSPF to automate the calibration of HSPF. PEST (stands for Parameter Estimation) can be setup to iteratively run HSPF, while it modifies input parameter values within user defined max/min limits until modeled flow matches gage flow data. The software uses the Gauss-Marquardt-Levenberg nonlinear parameter estimation method to determine how to best modify variable parameters for each iteration of the model. The PEST software stops iterating once the objective function, defined as the least squares of the difference between modeled and measured flow, reaches a global minimum.
The PEST software is available from the developer website . This web page also includes documentation on running PEST in conjunction with HSPF, as well as example HSPF application files, and a special version of HSPF12 modified to provide ascii output with full numerical precision.
EPA's Center for Exposure Assessment Modeling (CEAM) has a web site on PEST.
Q: Is there a bibliography on the HSPF model?
A: Yes, Aqua Terra Consultants have compiled a extensive bibliography on the HSPF model and it can be found on the web
Q: Is HSPF Version 12 available independently of BASINS 3.0?
A: Yes, the current version of the HSPF source code (version 12.2) is available (zipped file, 11 MB) . This file includes all of the code necessary to build the executable program for the HSPF water quality model used in BASINS.
The documentation for HSPF version 12 can be found on the BASINS' documentation web page.
Q: Where can I get the HSPF parameter database program HSPFParm?
A: HSPFParm is not part of the BASINS 3.1 installation package and must be installed separately. The program can be downloaded. Documentation can be found under the "Help" pulldown menu in the program. Usage of HSPFParm is free and unrestricted.
Q: I'm constructing a WDM file from scratch. What are the minimum data requirements?
A: See the table for the (matrix of weather data time series required for each HSPF module (PDF) (1 pp, 11 K)
Q: How do I convert my NPSM project to WinHSPF?
A: See Converting a Project from NPSM to WinHSPF (PDF) (125 KB). The BASINS team is currently testing an upgrade to WinHSPF which will automate this conversion process. The WinHSPF/GenScn upgrade should be available soon.
Q: The installation for WinHSPF/GenScn did not run correctly. How can I get the installation to work?
A. There is a bug in the setup program used by Visual Basic
When updating system files, the installation first copies them to a temporary directory, then during reboot they are supposed to be copied into the system directory. (For technical reasons, some files can only be updated during a reboot.) The cause we have seen is that either the system is configured to automatically delete all temporary files during reboot or temporary files are being stored on a different drive and therefore cannot be copied into the system directory early in the reboot process.
The solution suggested by Microsoft is to make sure the directory C:\TEMP exists, then open a command prompt window and type the following at the prompt:
Set TMP=C:\TEMP Set TEMP=C:\TEMP
If a user does this before attempting the installation again, it should succeed.
In the process of diagnosing and finding solutions for this problem, we also developed an alternative distribution of GenScn/WinHSPF that can be installed manually without running the setup program. This distribution can be found at:
The file SkippingSetup.txt in that directory describes the process.
Q: How do you run HSPF without running WinHSPF in the BASINS 3.0 environment? In BASINS 2.x you could do this by running xnpsm11x.exe at the dos prompt.
A: Run WinHSPF "lite" - i.e. WinHSPFlt.exe in the BASINS\models\hspf\bindirectory. This is a 32-bit version of HSPF meant to be used in exactly the same way you used to use the dos HSPF v.11 executable.
Q: When I create a new WinHSPF project, it asks me for a project WDM file. Where is this file?
A: The project WDM file is the output for WinHSPF. If you do not have an existing WDM file for output, you can create one by clicking the "Select" button and specify the directory and typing in a new file name.
Q: How do I get WinHSPF to use the land use scenario I generated with the Land Use Reclassification function?
A: WinHSPF is not currently able to use the land use scenarios in generating a project. Instead, use the following work-around:
- Make a copy of the original land use theme (i.e. files in "BASINS\data\project\landuse") as a backup.
- Perform a simple reclassify on one landuse and "Save Classification to landuse theme" option.
- Using Windows Explorer delete the reclassification from "BASINS\data\project\landuse".
- Re-import the backup above as a user defined land use theme.
Q: I am trying to add a second general quality constituent to the PQUAL module in WinHSPF. When I set NQUALS = 2 and complete the QUAL-PROPS table for the second constituent and then try to fill in the QUAL-INPUT table, it does not give me the option of the #2 occurrence in the drop down window. Any suggestions as to how to fix this?
A: The latest Utah State BASINS training class covers a work-around to this bug. This computer session procedure (PDF) describes how to add an additional constituents to the QUAL-INPUT table. You will need to modify your inputs to the specifics of your project.
Q: I get an error message when using the "LiteratureReview_EMCs.xls" spreadsheet as a data source for the PLOAD model. I don't get this error when using the "Tutorial_EMC_Table.xls" or "tutoriallut.xls" spreadsheets. How can I get PLOAD to work with the literature review spreadsheets?
A: The problem you are running into is due to the use of spaces and "%" characters in the spreadsheet and spreadsheet names, which are incompatible with the PLOAD software. A compressed revised without the spaces and "%" characters "LiteratureReview_EMCs.xls" spreadsheet is available. Please download the lremc101.zip file.
Additional questions and answers are also available on the BASINSInfo Listserver Archives.
For more information on BASINS, contact the BASINS support team:
Modeling and Information Technology Team
Standards and Health Protection Division
Office of Science and Technology
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Mailcode - 4305T
1201 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20460
Fax (202) 566-0409