Sensitivity analysis and calibration of the parameters of ESWAT: application to the River Dender

Water Sci Technol. 2001;43(7):295-300.


The paper deals with the sensitivity analysis and parameter calibration of a complex river water quality model, implemented in ESWAT. The Extended SWAT includes a QUALIIE-based river quality simulator, in view of an integrated analysis of water quantity and quality management practises. The sensitivity analysis uses Latin Hypercube Sampling and criteria related to the duration of low concentrations of dissolved oxygen and the occurrence of high algae concentrations. The analysis on the river Dender shows that parameters related to the growth and die-off of the algae have the largest impact, while also the BOD decay constant and the benthic oxygen demand are important. A subsequent calibration of these most important parameters shows however that the optimal values of the parameters related to the activity of the algae are statistically not significant. This apparent contradiction is due to the poor information content of the measurements. It is concluded that the application illustrates the complementarity of the sensitivity analysis and the parameter calibration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Belgium
  • Biomass
  • Calibration
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Environmental Monitoring / standards
  • Eukaryota / growth & development
  • Fresh Water / analysis*
  • Nitrogen / analysis
  • Oxygen / analysis
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Phosphorus / analysis
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Water / standards*


  • Water
  • Phosphorus
  • Nitrogen
  • Oxygen