Modeling Phosphorus in the lake Allatoona watershed using swat: II. Effect of land use change

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Lake Allatoona is a large reservoir northeast of metropolitan Atlanta, GA, threatened by excessive algal growth. We used the calibrated Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) models developed in our companion paper to estimate the annual P load to Lake Allatoona in 1992 and in 2001 after significant changes occurred in land use. Land use data in 1992 and 2001 from the Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics (MRLC) Consortium showed that forest land use decreased during this period by about 20%, urban land use increased by about 225%, and pasture land uses increased by about 50%. Simulation results showed that the P load to Lake Allatoona increased from 176.5 to 207.3 Mg, which were 87.8% and 103.1%, respectively, of the total P (TP) annual cap (201 Mg) set by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GAEPD) for discharge into Lake Allatoona. In the early 1990s, the greatest sources of the TP load to Lake Allatoona (and their percentages of the total load) were pasture (33.6%), forest (27.5%), and point sources (25.0%). Urban land uses contributed about 6.0% and row-crop agriculture contributed about 6.8%. A decade later, the greatest two TP sources were pasture (52.7%) and urban (20.9%) land uses. Point-source P loads decreased significantly to 11.6%. Permit limits on poultry processing plants reduced the point-source P loads, but increasing urban and pasture land uses increased nonpoint sources of P. To achieve further reductions in the P load to Lake Allatoona, contributions from pasture and urban nonpoint sources will need to be addressed.

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