Better Assessment Science Integrating Point and Nonpoint Sources


BASINS is a system that integrates Arcview, national watershed data, and environmental assessment and modeling tools into one package. Among its uses, one can assess the path of pollutants that may be flowing through the streams of a watershed(such as the Cahaba), the amount of pollutants that maybe generated by mines and other industries. It also contains data such as locations of monitoring stations and the level of hazard posed by objects built to control the flow of certain rivers and streams such as dams.

Now that you have learned some basics of Arcview, we will continue with BASINS which is an application with a customized Arcview GIS interface, meaning it has some tools that are not included in the standard Arcview software package.

Getting Started with Basins:

This is only a short introduction to BASINS, in order to learn about it in detail, the BASINS site is very useful.

Water Assessment Tools


Target is used to perform broad based water quality and/or point source loading data evaluations on the entire project area. This means that this tool can assess the water quality on more than one watershed. It can also evaluate data at particular points which are sources of pollution.


Assess is used to perform water quality assessments on an individal watershed.

Data Mining

Data mining is used to provide links between tables and maps for individual water quality stations. It is similar to hot linking features.

Watershed Delineation

Creates boundaries within the watershed boundary to evaluate and model water quality conditions on a smaller scale.

Cleaning watershed

It is used to delete a boundary created by the watershed delineation tool.

Add a watershed quality station

Adds a new water quality station to the watershed.

Modeling Tools


QUAL2E allows users to simulate fate and transport of water quality particles in streams under a given flow condition. This tool requires the user to specify a flow rate, the particles and the stream through which it flows.


This tool performs simple assessments of pollutant concentrations in rivers.


NPSM is a very powerful modelling tool that can simulate nonpoint source runoff and associated pollutant loading. NPSM can account for point source discharges and perform flow and water quality routing through stream reaches.


Using the techniques you learned in the earlier ArcView exercises, answer the following:

Glossary: Glossary for BASINS, includes all technical jargon related to BASINS.
Home | Back