Brazil is Back!

22 June 2023

For over a decade Brazilian university faculty and government agency specialists have been enthusiastic SWAT users and influencers, supporting graduate students that have developed numerous SWAT models. Among the most active SWAT leaders have been Dr. Josicleda Galvicio (Federal University of Pernambuco), Dr. Suzana Gico Montenegro (Federal University of Pernambuco), Dr. Rodrigo de Queiroga Miranda (Federal University of Pernambuco), Dr. Danielle Bressiani (Federal University of Pelotas), and Dr. E. Mario Mendiondo (University of Sao Paulo). These leaders of the Brazilian SWAT community and their students have authored numerous peer-reviewed publications involving the use of SWAT, were key to organizing and hosting the 2014 International SWAT Conference in Porto de Galinhas (Ipojuca), Pernambuco, and have offered regular SWAT short courses and workshops throughout Brazil. For the 2014 conference Dr. Danielle presented a review of SWAT applications in Brazil, and a quick search of the SWAT publications website for “Brazil” found a total of 168 SWAT-related articles in the last 10 years. In addition, over the last several years Drs. Josicleda, Rodrigo and Suzana and their students have worked with Dr. Srini to develop “SUPER” (Hydrologic System Response Unit of Pernambuco), a version of the Hydrologic and Water Quality System (HAWQS) for the State of Pernambuco, currently being used by APAC (Pernambuco State Water and Climate Agency).  

Of course, over the last few years COVID has made face-to-face collaboration more difficult, but these SWAT leaders and their students are regaining momentum. During the COVID years Dr. Danielle has made available a SWAT+ course online. And in late May, under a co-funded program between the Pernambuco's (FACEPE) and Sao Paulo’s (FAPESP) agencies for research, they conducted a three-day SWAT+ short course, delivered in-person and via teleconference, at the University of Sao Paulo (USP) in Sao Carlos. This course was the kick-off of a long-term collaborative effort among the Brazilian Water Resources Association Technical Commission on Education ("ABRHidro-CT-Educacao”), the National Institute of Science & Technology National Observatory for Water Security and Adaptive Management (“INCT-ONSEAdapta”), funded by CNPq (Brazilian Research Council),  and the UNESCO Chair on Urban Waters of USP.

This has led to discussions with Dr. Srini about developing a version of HAWQS, tentatively called “BEST” (Brazilian Ecohydrological Simulation Tool), that would cover all of Brazil. BEST will be a collaborative platform. Tentative plans include Dr. Srini providing a 10km x 10km SWAT model (initially uncalibrated) for the entire country. Brazilian researchers would be encouraged both to help calibrate the country-wide model and to contribute their more detailed, calibrated and validated SWAT models for other watersheds, starting with models of important Brazilian watersheds developed by the group. The Brazilian SWAT community would reach out to other universities and government agencies like EMBRAPA and ANA to contribute to this national effort.  Dr. Srini’s staff would initially maintain the system, incorporating contributed SWAT models for Brazilian watersheds and providing access to the system via the SWAT website.  The hope is that the first version of BEST could be made available for testing in 2024. First presentations of BEST will be done by Dr. Danielle at the International SWAT Conference in Aarhus, Denmark and at the Brazilian Water Resources Conference later this year.