The soil and water assessment tool (SWAT) model was applied for the first time in Cuba to assess the potential impacts of climate change on water availability in the Cauto River basin. The model was calibrated (and validated) for the 2001-2006 (2007-2010) period at a monthly timescale in two subbasins La Fuente and Las Coloradas, representative of middle and upper sections of the Cauto basin; the calibrated models showed good performance. The output available for the regional climate Model RegCM4.3 was used to force the calibrated SWAT models to simulate a baseline (1970-2000) period and near-future (2015-2039) hydrologic regimes under the representative concentration pathway (RCP) 8.5 emission scenario. The future projections suggest regional increases of 1.5 °C in mean annual temperature and a 38% decrease in mean annual precipitation in the subbasins. These changes translate to possible reductions in the annual streamflow of up to 61% with respect to the baseline period, whereas the aquifer recharge in the basin is expected to decrease up to 58%, with a consequent reduction of groundwater flow, especially during the boreal summer wet season. These projection scenarios should be of interest to water resources managers in tropical regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1135
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number9
StatePublished - Aug 25 2018


  • Climate change
  • Cuba
  • Rainfall-runoffmodeling
  • RegCM4.3
  • SWAT
  • Water management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology


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