Introduction to SWAT+, A Completely Restructured Version of the Soil and Water Assessment Tool Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2016 American Water Resources Association SWAT+ is a completely restructured version of the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) that was developed to face present and future challenges in water resources modeling and management and to meet the needs of the worldwide user community. It is expected to improve code development and maintenance; support data availability, analysis, and visualization; and enhance the model's capabilities in terms of the spatial representation of elements and processes within watersheds. The most important change is the implementation of landscape units and flow and pollutant routing across the landscape. Also, SWAT+ offers more flexibility than SWAT in defining management schedules, routing constituents, and connecting managed flow systems to the natural stream network. To test the basic hydrologic function of SWAT+, it was applied to the Little River Experimental Watershed (Georgia) without enhanced overland routing and compared with previous models. SWAT+ gave similar results and inaccuracies as these models did for streamflow and water balance. Taking full advantage of the new capabilities of SWAT+ regarding watershed discretization and landscape and river interactions is expected to improve simulations in future studies. While many capabilities of SWAT have already been enhanced in SWAT+ and new capabilities have been added, the model will continue to evolve in response to advancements in scientific knowledge and the demands of the growing worldwide user community. Editor's note: This paper is part of the featured series on SWAT Applications for Emerging Hydrologic and Water Quality Challenges. See the February 2017 issue for the introduction and background to the series.

altmetric score

  • 5.35

author list (cited authors)

  • Bieger, K., Arnold, J. G., Rathjens, H., White, M. J., Bosch, D. D., Allen, P. M., Volk, M., & Srinivasan, R.

citation count

  • 71

publication date

  • February 2017