The EPA has fully embraced the application of modeling to assist in watershed planning. In that spirit, they have developed the Better Assessment Science Integrating point & Non-point Sources (BASINS) water quality monitoring system. BASINS is an open source, GIS-based mapping software that readily links to other models including SWAT, HSPF, P-Load, and Aquatox. 

Since 2007, BASINS has been readily available to all user groups in an online format. This allows users to indicate their areas of interest, download available datasets, and readily display these parameters online without the costly and sometimes cumbersome GIS system. By selecting a compatible model, BASINS has the following applications:

  • Characterizing water quality data
  • Identifying pollution sources
  • Investigating Load Allocations
  • Climate Change Assessment

The BASINS system  straddles the line between data acquisition and modeling. Users are able to readily access the data needed to run the models as well as the models themselves, making watershed modeling overall more easily accessible by diverse use groups.

The EPA’s website has extensive information on usability and application of BASINS, including on-line and publicly available trainings that can be found HERE.