Applicability of a widely accepted watershed-based water quality assessment tool (BASINS) and its associated watershed model (WinHSPF) was evaluated on the Seamangeum watershed in Korea. The study site is the largest polder project area in Korea and its environmental quality has been debated for the last five years. BASINS was found to be a convenient and powerful tool for assessment of watershed characteristics, and provided various tools to delineate the watershed into land segments and river reaches, reclassify land use, and parameterize for WinHSPF simulation. Calibration results were satisfactory showing model efficiency over 0.80 for stream flow, temperature, and dissolved oxygen simulation, and model output for water quality constituents also reasonably matched the observed data. It was demonstrated that calibration with dry-day data for a relatively long period might be adequate to simulate hydrologic characteristics and water quality of the watershed with WinHSPF, and using parameters generated with BASINS for nonpoint source pollution simulation is suggested when enough wet-day monitoring data are not available. The unit-area load of biochemical oxygen demand, total nitrogen, and total phosphorus was 27.8, 48.2, and 4.3 kg/ha/yr, respectively. These values are within the expected range but on the high side of the reported values, which implies that effective control measures are required to protect water quality of the downstream reservoir. Overall, BASINS/WinHSPF was applicable and found to be a powerful tool in pollutant loading estimation from the watershed, and its use in Korea is recommended.

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