The Phosphorus Indicators Tool provides a catchment-scale estimation of diffuse phosphorus (P) loss from agricultural land to surface waters using the most appropriate indicators of P loss. The Tool provides a framework that may be applied across the UK to estimate P loss, which is sensitive not only to land use and management but also to environmental factors such as climate, soil type and topography. The model complexity incorporated in the P Indicators Tool has been adapted to the level of detail in the available data and the need to reflect the impact of changes in agriculture. Currently, the Tool runs on an annual timestep and at a 1 km2 grid scale.
We demonstrate that the P Indicators Tool works in principle and that its modular structure provides a means of accounting for P loss from one layer to the next, and ultimately to receiving waters. Trial runs of the Tool suggest that modelled P delivery to water approximates measured water quality records. The transparency of the structure of the P Indicators Tool means that identification of poorly performing coefficients is possible, and further refinements of the Tool can be made to ensure it is better calibrated and subsequently validated against empirical data, as it becomes available.