Reduction in specific and viscous dissipation rate in surface waters by flow control and contaminant removal are the goals of constructed wetlands. A two-dimensional simulation study on surface flow through a constructed wetland in Guilin, China is performed. The flow through the wetland is modeled and dynamically simulated by distinct case studies by varying both inlet width and inflow rate. Nonlinear increase in peak dynamic pressure and specific dissipation rates as a function of increasing inflow rate is reported for the different cases studied. The results of the numerical models confirm an increase in viscous dissipation, shear stress and dynamic pressure within the wetland with increase in inflow rate. These modeling results are used as inputs for performing a statistical data analysis. Further, a multivariate stochastic statistical framework has been proposed for the prediction of dissipation as a function of variables including inflow rate, inlet geometry and wall shear stress. Multivariate and variance analysis is performed to validate the appropriateness of the theoretical models proposed. Results provide simplified meaningful suggestions to constructed wetland design and related applications. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.