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Hydrological and pesticide transfer modeling in a tropical volcanic watershed with the WATPPASS model

Mottes C., Lesueur Jannoyer M., Charlier J.B., Carles C., Guene M., Le Bail M., Malézieux E.. 2015. Journal of Hydrology, 529 (3) : p. 909-927.

DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.09.007

Simulation of flows and pollutant transfers in heterogeneous media is widely recognized to be a remaining frontier in hydrology research. We present a new modeling approach to simulate agricultural pollutions in watersheds: WATPPASS, a model for Watershed Agricultural Techniques and Pesticide Practices ASSessment. It is designed to assess mean pesticide concentrations and loads that result from the use of pesticides in horticultural watersheds located on heterogeneous subsoil. WATPPASS is suited for small watershed with significant groundwater flows and complex aquifer systems. The model segments the watershed into fields with independent hydrological and pesticide transfers at the ground surface. Infiltrated water and pesticides are routed toward outlet using a conceptual reservoir model. We applied WATPPASS on a heterogeneous tropical volcanic watershed of Martinique in the French West Indies. We carried out and hydrological analysis that defined modeling constraints: (i) a spatial variability of runoff/infiltration partitioning according to land use, and (ii) a predominance of groundwater flow paths in two overlapping aquifers under permeable soils (50¿60% of annual flows). We carried out simulations on a 550 days period at a daily time step for hydrology (Nashsqrt > 0.75). Weekly concentrations and loads of a persistent organic pesticide (chlordecone) were simulated for 67 weeks to evaluate the modeling approach. Pesticide simulations without specific calibration detected the mean long-term measured concentration, leading to a good quantification of the cumulative loads (5% error), but failed to represent the concentration peaks at the correct timing. Nevertheless, we succeed in adjusting the model structure to better represent the temporal dynamic of pesticide concentrations. This modification requires a proper evaluation on an independent dataset. Finally, WATPPASS is a compromise between complexity and easiness of use that makes it suited for cropping system assessment in complex pedological and geological environment.

Mots-clés : pollution de l'eau; pesticide; bassin versant; volcan; pratique agricole; ruissellement; infiltration; structure du sol; perméabilité du sol; conservation de l'eau; hydrologie; antilles françaises; martinique; france

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