Development of a Prototype Web-Based Decision Support System for Watershed Management

Using distributed hydrological models to evaluate the effectiveness of reducing non-point source pollution by applying best management practices (BMPs) is an important support to decision making for watershed management. However, complex interfaces and time-consuming simulations of the models have largely hindered the applications of these models. We designed and developed a prototype web-based decision support system for watershed management (DSS-WMRJ), which is user friendly and supports quasi-real-time decision making. DSS-WMRJ is based on integrating an open-source Web-based Geographical Information Systems (Web GIS) tool (Geoserver), a modeling component (SWAT, Soil and Water Assessment Tool), a cloud computing platform (Hadoop) and other open source components and libraries. In addition, a private cloud is used in an innovative manner to parallelize model simulations, which are time consuming and computationally costly. Then, the prototype DSS-WMRJ was tested with a case study. Successful implementation and testing of the prototype DSS-WMRJ lay a good foundation to develop DSS-WMRJ into a fully-fledged tool for watershed management. DSS-WMRJ can be easily customized for use in other watersheds and is valuable for constructing other environmental decision support systems, because of its performance, flexibility, scalability and economy.