This study comparatively evaluates the Hydrological Simulation Program-FORTRAN (HSPF) model and the Canadian ArcView Nutrient and Water Evaluation Tool (CANWET) for non-point source pollution (NPS) management in rural Ontario watersheds. Both models were calibrated, validated, and applied to a 52 km2 headwater rural watershed known as the Canagagigue Creek near Elmira in the Grand River basin, Ontario, Canada. A comparison of the simulated and observed values for stream flow, surface runoff, subsurface runoff, evapotranspiration, and sediment yield showed that (Better Assessment Science Integrating Point and Nonpoint Sources) BASINS/HSPF and CANWET models have similar capabilities to simulate various hydrological processes at the watershed scale. The seasonal stream flow comparison between observed and simulated values from HSPF and CANWET showed Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency (Nash-E) coefficients of 0.80 and 0.72, respectively. The monthly comparison between the simulated and observed stream flow yielded Nash-E coefficients of 0.88 and 0.94 for HSPF and CANWET, respectively. Overall, both models predicted the components of the annual, seasonal, and monthly water budget accurately. There was a considerable difference in the monthly simulated sediment yield by both models. This difference is consistent with the surface runoff variation predicted by both models. Both models predicted sediment yield with early winter and spring storms which is typical for southern Ontario.

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