BASINS 4.0—Fact Sheet
Fact Sheet; April 2007
EPA has released version 4.0 of the Better Assessment Science Integrating point and Nonpoint Sources (BASINS) software system. The most significant change in BASINS 4.0 is its use of open source GIS software architecture. Analysts can now use BASINS 3.1 or BASINS 4.0 to examine environmental information, analyze environmental systems, and build a framework for assessing management alternatives.
BASINS was originally introduced in 1996, and improved versions were released in 1998, 2001, and 2004. BASINS is a multipurpose environmental analysis system designed for regional, state, and local agencies that perform watershed and water quality-based studies. This system makes it possible to quickly assess large amounts of point 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 cost-effective approaches to watershed management and environmental protection, including the development of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs).
What's New in BASINS 4.0?
Like version 3.1, BASINS 4.0 includes these valuable features:
- Data Download Tool,
- GIS Project Builder,
- GIS Edit Tools,
- Automatic and Manual Watershed Delineation,
- Watershed Characterization Reports,
- series of Surface Water Models, and
- customized databases.
Unlike previous releases, BASINS version 4.0 runs on a non-proprietary, open source GIS system architecture, providing a cost-saving alternative to expensive GIS software and improving upon the BASINS 3.1 capabilities.
Access to data in BASINS 3.1 and 4.0 is web-based. The user specifies the geographic area, and the software downloads selected data from EPA, USGS, and other Internet locations. After the GIS data are downloaded, they are automatically extracted, projected to a user-specified map, and combined in a project file. The Web Data Download tool allows the user to add data to a BASINS project from a variety of data sources and to check for more recent data and updates.
The Data Download tool provides dynamic downloading of GIS data and access to hydrologic and monitoring data from the BASINS web site and a variety of other sources. It 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 since the last update. If any program components are out of date, this tool gives the user the option to download and install those updates. Through this feature, BASINS users can be assured they are running the most up-to-date version of the software.
BASINS Version 4.0 includes the existing WinHSPF and PLOAD models that BASINS 3.0 uses. WinHSPF estimates land use specific nonpoint source loadings for selected pollutants at a watershed. 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. WinHSPF links to the AQUATOX model for integrating watershed analysis with effects on aquatic biota in receiving waters. It also provides access to a new BASINS feature: the Windows-based Climate Assessment Tool for assessing potential impacts of changing climate on stream flows and pollutant loads.
For More Information
For further information about BASINS, send an e-mail to email@example.com.
To keep up with the latest news and updates, join the BASINS Listserver.