Environmental Systems Applications

Water Resources

Water Resources, Water Supply and Hydrological Modeling

Water Resources

Water resources, water supply and hydrological modeling projects typically involve simulating systems made up of many component parts that are interrelated, and in some cases, poorly characterized. In most situations, the hydrological system is driven by stochastic variables (i.e., precipitation, evaporation, demand) and involves uncertain processes, parameters, and events.

GoldSim provides a powerful and visual way to address integrated water resource management problems. GoldSim models consist of high-level elements that are automatically connected in an influence diagram, making calculations more transparent to reviewers and colleagues. In addition, GoldSim has powerful probabilistic simulation capabilities for representing the inherently uncertain and stochastic nature of all real-world systems.

Influence Diagram

GoldSim allows for seamless integration with other tools, such as databases and MS Excel spreadsheets. You can also integrate your GoldSim model directly with external codes such as EPA SWMM or Modflow. GoldSim also provides a specialized set of tools that allow you to create custom designed interfaces, or “dashboards” for your models to make the models accessible to non-technical users.

By combining the power and flexibility of a general-purpose and highly-graphical probabilistic simulation framework with specialized modules to support water quality modeling and reliability analysis (e.g., of pumps and other equipment). GoldSim allows you to create realistic models of water supply, water resource, and hydrological systems in order to carry out risk analyses, evaluate potential environmental impacts, support strategic planning, and make better resource management decisions.

GoldSim is used by a large number of engineering consulting firms and water resource organizations worldwide to support water resource management applications.



White Papers

Technical Papers

  • Predicting the transport of 2,4-dinitroanisole (DNAN) and 3-nitro-1,2,4-triazol-5-one (NTO) in sandy and sandy loam soils

    Heliyon, Volume 8, Issue 11, E11758 – November 2022

    Encina Gutierrez-Carazo, James Dowle, Frederic Coulon, Tracey Temple,and Melissa Ladyman

    There is a trend toward the use of Insensitive High Explosives (IHE) in both military and civil applications as they are intended to be less prone to accidental detonation compared to traditional explosive fills. This has driven the development of new explosive formulations containing different chemical compounds whose behaviour once they are released into the environment is not fully understood. To date, research into the toxicity and the persistence of IHE compounds in the environment is scarce and little has been described about how they interact with, or move through soil. In this work, the transport of two IHE constituents, 2,4-dinitroanisole (DNAN) and 3-nitro-1,2,4-triazol-5-one (NTO), through two soil types (sand and sandy loam) was simulated in GoldSim using a stochastic approach. The simulation outputs were validated by comparison to results from empirical soil column experiments. Sorption of the IHE constituents to the soil was the most significant factor in predicting when the contaminants eluted from the soil column. Sensitivity analysis demonstrated that variation in the matrix water partition coefficient (Kd) had the greatest influence when used to predict the IHE compounds transport. Kd was measured empirically and, as expected, it was low in sand for NTO (0.334 L kg−1) and DNAN (0.401 L kg−1), suggesting high mobility. While in sandy loam Kd for NTO (0.242 L kg−1) was similar to one obtained in sand, it was significantly higher for DNAN (9.128 L kg−1), explaining the high retention and adsorption in the sandy loam soil. The use of stochastic modelling to estimate IHE breakthrough concentrations could enable the uncertainty inherent in environmental systems to be embedded into simulations, thus increasing their representativeness. This study is the first step toward proactive management of IHE in the environment, and may support decision making for remediation and mitigation strategies in different environments.

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  • Development of a Computer Model to Optimize Recharge Performance

    – September 2022

    Greg Woodside and Marsha Westropp, Orange County Water District

    In 2009, the Orange County Water District completed development of a Recharge Facilities Model (RFM). This model was developed with the assistance of CH2M HILL and is based on GoldSim to simulate groundwater recharge operations for the District's 1,100 acres of surface recharge facilities. The model was developed as water resources planning tool to estimate the total water percolated through the spreading basins and to evaluate system performance under different future inflow scenarios and different system configurations.The excellent fit between the historical recharge and modeled recharge showed that the model was well calibrated and could be used to predict recharge under a variety of conditions. Results from this model were used in a 2015 update to the District's Draft Groundwater Management Plan.

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  • An inverse soil-plant-atmosphere model to estimate vegetation and hydraulic properties of materials from field measurements to improve performance predictions and confidence in mine reclamation

    44th Annual BC Mine Reclamation Symposium – August 2022

    R.E. Shurniak, Okane Consultants

    Cover system and landform design are crucial components of mine reclamation, of which the hydraulic performance is largely controlled by vegetation and material properties. Field monitoring (especially volumetric water content profiles) of a reclaimed area provides valuable information on a cover system’s and/or landform’s performance and indirectly measure a site’s vegetation and material properties. One of the most challenging and time-consuming numerical modelling problems is calibrating a model for near-surface (i.e., vadose zone) water movement, which accounts for atmospheric, vegetation, and material interactions (referred to as a Soil-Plant-Atmosphere or SPA model), to such field measurements. Previously, establishing inputs for vegetation and hydraulic properties required the model user to estimate initial inputs and then subjectively adapt the inputs while completing a multitude of iterations until a reasonable fit to field conditions was realized. To improve this process, the author has developed a simplified SPA model using the GoldSim software to quickly and objectively develop estimates of vegetation and hydraulic properties. The vegetation and hydraulic properties can then be validated within more rigorous and recognized SPA modelling software. The process can also be tailored to identify potential equifinal solutions, which can usually be eliminated through multiple factor calibration. The results of the model are calibrated vegetation and hydraulic properties that can be used to confidently predict mine reclamation performance. The paper provides an example where this modelling process has been successfully applied for a reclaimed site in the Northern Hemisphere.

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  • WRRM1 and WRRM2: Implementations in GoldSim of Unit Process Models and IWA Benchmark Models (BSM1 and BSM2) for Nutrient Removal

    Innovation Conference on Sustainable Wastewater Treatment and Resource Recovery (Shanghai, China) – November 2019

    Townley, Lloyd R., Jiang, Huanhuan and Tang, Jinquan

    New simulation software has been developed at the Nanjing University Yixing Environmental Research Institute, for use in training, and to facilitate the use of simulation software for improving the performance of water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs) in China. Computer simulation of WRRFs (formerly known as wastewater treatment plants or WTTPs) is useful for (i) design of new WRRFS, (ii) design of modifications to existing WRRFs, (iii) diagnostic analysis to understand the behaviour of existing WRRFs, (iv) design of new control strategies to improve the performance of WRRFs, and (v) training of operators, professionals and students. The new implementations are the first complete implementations in many years. This is also the first time that GoldSim has been used to simulate WRRFs. Rigorous comparison with the original benchmarks has allowed the developers to have confidence in their ability to represent all biochemical processes perfectly, and therefore to have confidence in their ability to customise models for individual WRRFs in China, with the same or similar unit processes.

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  • A probabilistic framework to evaluate the uncertainty of design hydrograph: case study of Swannanoa River watershed

    Hydrological Sciences Journal – October 2018

    Ebrahim Ahmadisharaf, Alfred J. Kalyanapu, Jason R. Lillywhite & Gina L. Tonn

    This study presents a probabilistic framework to evaluate the impact of uncertainty of design rainfall depth and temporal pattern as well as antecedent moisture condition (AMC) on design hydrograph attributes – peak, time to peak, duration and volume, as well as falling and rising limb slopes – using an event-based hydrological model in the Swannanoa River watershed in North Carolina, USA. Of the six hydrograph attributes, falling limb slope is the most sensitive to the aforementioned uncertainties, while duration is the least sensitive. In general, the uncertainty of hydrograph attributes decreases in higher recurrence intervals. Our multivariate analysis revealed that in most of the return periods, AMC is the most important driver for peak, duration and volume, while time to peak and falling limb slope are most influenced by rainfall pattern. In higher return periods, the importance of rainfall depth and pattern increases, while the importance of AMC decreases.

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  • Coupling PHREEQC with GoldSim for a More Dynamic Water Modeling Experience

    11th ICARD | IMWA | WISA MWD 2018 Conference – Risk to Opportunity, Pretoria, South Africa – January 2018

    Brent C. Johnson, Pamela Rohal, and Ted Eary

    Mining operators strive to improve their tools for decision-making about water management to minimize risks and costs related to water quantity and quality issues. These issues are typically interrelated and complex such that interpretation and prediction of system dynamics requires implementation of innovative approaches that make use of observed data and fundamental hydrochemical concepts. We have developed an approach that couples the dynamic systems modelling framework of GoldSim with the geochemical reaction simulation capabilities of PHREEQC as described by Eary (2007). The approach utilizes a dynamic link library (DLL) code to handshake and transfer data between the two programs at every model timestep.

    The coupled GoldSim-PHREEQC approach simulates mixing and reactions taking place at key mixing points along flow paths and at key water storage locations (e.g., ponds, tanks, pit lakes). Empirical factors affecting chemical loads can be calibrated to observed flows and chemistry at multiple locations and then used for predicting future water quality as operating and environmental conditions change.

    Including geochemical reactions at each model time-step provides an efficient approach for applying a thermodynamic framework for understanding important geochemical processes that affect water chemistry. The approach also identifies the subset of reaction processes that may not be well explained by thermodynamic-based calculations and require empirical adjustment and time periods in response to events such as facility shut downs, climate events, and closure and remediation. The resulting calibrated model can be used to challenge our understanding of the reactions that are attenuating or not attenuating solutes at various site locations and to help understand, predict, and manage water quality going forward.

    This modelling approach was applied to a proposed mine site in the northern Michigan (U.S.A.) to simulate various stages of operational and closure conditions to predict the quality of water that will require treatment. The model provided an efficient approach for making robust predictions of treatment requirements in terms of both water quality and quantity as a function of mine operations and closure.

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  • Modelling Complex Mine Water Closure Challenges using a Coupled FEFLOW-GoldSim Model

    11th ICARD | IMWA | WISA MWD 2018 Conference – Risk to Opportunity, Pretoria, South Africa – January 2018

    Nick Martin and Michael Gabora

    A current limitation in modelling pit lake evolution from active mining through closure to optimise management strategies is the separation between physical process and operational modelling tools. To overcome this limitation, a GoldSim water balance model of pit operations is dynamically coupled with a FEFLOW, physically-based, model of groundwater inflow to the pit. This approach can be used as part of mine project planning to provide robust estimates of conditions at closure, including an improved representation of the pit lake system physical response, closure cost analysis, and risk assessment through uncertainty analysis.

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  • Operational Safety at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Dam and Hydropower Facilities

    Africa 2017 – Hydropower and Dams – March 2017

    Robert Patev, Adiel Komey and Gregory Baecher

    The quantification of operational risks at US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) dam and hydropower projects is a critical piece of the overall USACE risk assessment processes. Operational risks need to be considered for both the daily operations and maintenance of the dam and hydropower systems and for emergency operations required during flood events. Many USACE dam and hydropower projects are multi-purpose and the methodology developed needs to be considered holistically to all operational aspects of the projects. Dams, along with their spillways and other waterways, are built to retain and control the flow of water for purposes of power production, water supply, navigation, recreation, flood risk mitigation, and environmental restoration. This paper will define a system methodology that evaluates the performance of structural, mechanical, electrical controls and sensing equipment over a range of loading conditions that are in combination with human factors such as work environment and stress, internal communication, operator training, and management policies and practices. The result of this system modelling is to identify weaknesses and corrective actions in areas such as corrective maintenance activities, plant staff working environments and level of job training, horizontal and vertical communication with upper management, and operations and maintenance manuals for dam and hydropower projects. 

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  • Eliminating the Silo Effect Integrated Water, Wastewater, Watershed Model Helps the Atlanta Region Plan a More Holistic Future

    Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation – January 2017

    Schlaman, James C; Johnson, Danny

    In 2015, the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District (District) initiated the 2017 Water Resource Management Plan (Plan). The Plan presents an integrated approach to water resource management for the 15-county District. The Plan brings together a comprehensive and consolidated approach for Water Supply and Conservation, Wastewater Management and Watershed Management for the region. It describes existing conditions and projects future conditions of the region's water resources and its water, wastewater and watershed management infrastructure. The Plan is driven by science, data and good stewardship, and it promotes the protection of water resources for the purposes of supply, quality and recreation in the immediate and downstream region. The Plan prescribes water resource management strategies that support the region's economic, environmental and social well-being. To help develop the plan, an integrated GoldSim model was developed and utilized to show tradeoffs and benefits of various water plan strategies and implementation actions. This paper serves to summarize the modeling approach and how it was leveraged to support the water planning effort.

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  • Sustainability-Based Flood Hazard Mapping of the Swannanoa River Watershed

    Sustainability 2017, 9, 1735 – January 2017

    Ebrahim Ahmadisharaf, Virginia Tech; Alfred J. Kalyanapu, Tennessee Technological University; and Eun-Sung Chung, Seoul National University of Science and Technology

    An integrated framework is presented for sustainability-based flood hazard mapping of the Swannanoa River watershed in the state of North Carolina, U.S. The framework uses a hydrologic model for rainfall–runoff transformation, a two-dimensional unsteady hydraulic model flood simulation and a GIS-based multi-criteria decision-making technique for flood hazard mapping. Economic, social, and environmental flood hazards are taken into account. The importance of each hazard is quantified through a survey to the experts. Utilizing the proposed framework, sustainability-based flood hazard mapping is performed for the 100-year design event. As a result, the overall flood hazard is provided in each geographic location. The sensitivity of the overall hazard with respect to the weights of the three hazard components were also investigated. While the conventional flood management approach is to assess the environmental impacts of mitigation measures after a set of feasible options are selected, the presented framework incorporates the environmental impacts into the analysis concurrently with the economic and social influences. Thereby, it provides a more sustainable perspective of flood management and can greatly help the decision makers to make better-informed decisions by clearly understanding the impacts of flooding on economy, society and environment.

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  • A probabilistic framework for comparison of dam breach parameters and outflow hydrograph generated by different empirical prediction methods

    Journal of Environmental Modelling and Software, Vol. 86, Pgs. 248–263, 1364-8152/© 2016 Elsevier Ltd. – December 2016

    Ebrahim Ahmadisharaf, Alfred J. Kalyanapu, Brantley A. Thames, Jason Lillywhite

    This study presents a probabilistic framework to simulate a dam breach and evaluates the impact of using four empirical dam breach prediction methods on breach parameters (i.e., geometry and timing) and outflow hydrograph attributes (i.e., time to peak, hydrograph duration and peak). Mean values and percentiles of breach parameters and outflow hydrograph attributes are compared for hypothetical overtopping failure of Burnett Dam in the state of North Carolina, USA. Furthermore, utilizing the probabilistic framework of GoldSim, the least and most uncertain methods alongside those giving the most critical value are identified for these parameters. The multivariate analysis also indicates that lone use of breach parameters is not necessarily sufficient to characterize outflow hydrograph attributes. However, timing characteristic of the breach is generally a more important driver than its geometric features.

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  • A framework for water supply system performance assessment to support integrated water resources management and decision making process

    Phd Dissertation, University of Utah – August 2016

    Erfan Goharian

    In this dissertation, a new comprehensive integrated modeling and performance assessment framework is offered. First, a new approach is designed to assess vulnerability of a water system based on important factors including exposure, sensitivity, severity, potential severity, social vulnerability, and adaptive capacity. Then, instead of an individual metric, the joint probability distribution of reliability and vulnerability based on copula function is developed to estimate a new index, the Water System Performance Index (WSPI), to evaluate the reliability and vulnerability of a water system simultaneously. To test the effectiveness of the framework and demonstrate the advances of the new performance index, a practical application is conducted for the Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities (SLCDPU) water system. For this purpose, an integrated water resource management (IWRM) model is developed using system dynamics approach for the case study. Management alternatives are incorporated into the model using a decision support tool designed for use by water managers and stakeholders. In terms of water management decision making, the final results of this dissertation indicate centralized water storage solutions improve water system performance better than rainwater harvesting for the Salt Lake City case study.

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  • Vulnerability Assessment to Support Integrated Water Resources Management of Metropolitan Water Supply Systems

    Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)WR.1943-5452.0000738. © 2016 American Society of Civil Engineers – January 2016

    Erfan Goharian, Steven J. Burian, Jason Lillywhite, and Ryan Hile

    The combined actions of natural and human factors change the timing and availability of water resources and, correspondingly, water demand in metropolitan areas. This leads to an imbalance between supply and demand resulting in increased vulnerability of water supply systems. Accordingly, methods for systematic analysis and multifactor assessment are needed to estimate the vulnerability of individual components in an integrated water supply system. This paper introduces a new approach to comprehensively assess vulnerability by integrating water resource system characteristics with factors representing exposure, sensitivity, severity, potential severity, social vulnerability, and adaptive capacity. The effectiveness and advantages of the proposed approach are checked using an investigation of the water supply system of Salt Lake City (SLC), Utah. First, an integrated water resource model was developed using GoldSim to allocate water from different sources in SLC among designated demand points. The model contains individual simulation modules with representative interconnections among the natural hydroclimate system, built water infrastructure, and institutional decision making. The results of the analysis illustrate that basing vulnerability on a sole factor may lead to insufficient understanding and, hence, inefficient management of the system. The new vulnerability index and assessment approach was able to identify the most vulnerable water sources in the SLC integrated water supply system. In conclusion, use of a more comprehensive approach to simulate the system behavior and estimate vulnerability provides more guidance for decision makers to detect vulnerable components of the system and ameliorate decision making.

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  • Incorporating Potential Severity into Vulnerability Assessment of Water Supply Systems under Climate Change Conditions

    Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, 2015DOI: 10.1061/ (ASCE)WR.1943-5452.0000579. © 2015 American Society of Civil Engineers. – November 2015

    Erfan Goharian, S.M.ASCE; Steven J. Burian, M.ASCE; Courtenay Strong with Univ. of Utah; Tim Bardsley with Western Water Assessment

    In response to climate change, vulnerability assessment of water resources systems is typically performed based on quantifying the severity of the failure. This paper introduces an approach to assess vulnerability that incorporates a set of new factors. The method is demonstrated with a case study of a reservoir system in Salt Lake City using an integrated modeling framework composed of a hydrologic model and a systems model driven by temperature and precipitation data for a 30-year historical (1981–2010) period. The climate of the selected future (2036–2065) simulation periods were represented by five combinations of warm or hot, wet or dry, and central tendency projections derived from the World Climate Research Programme's (WCRP's) Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5. The results of the analysis illustrate that basing vulnerability on severity alone may lead to an incorrect quantification of the system vulnerability. In this study, a typical vulnerability metric (severity) incorrectly provides low magnitudes under the projected future warm-wet climate condition. The proposed new metric correctly indicates the vulnerability to be high because it accounts for additional factors. To further explore the new factors, a sensitivity analysis (SA) was performed to show the impact and importance of the factors on the vulnerability of the system under different climate conditions. The new metric provides a comprehensive representation of system vulnerability under climate change scenarios, which can help decision makers and stakeholders evaluate system operation and infrastructure changes for climate adaptation.

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  • Impacts of Large-Scale Stormwater Green Infrastructure Implementation and Climate Variability on Receiving Water Response in the Salt Lake City Area

    American Journal of Environmental Sciences – October 2015

    Chris York, Erfan Goharian and Steven J. Burian, University of Utah

    This study evaluated impacts of Green Infrastructure (GI) as a stormwater management practice on return flows and the further Implications of climate variability. The goal was to create a model to explore the impacts that bioretention and Rainwater Harvesting (RWH) representing GI had using GoldSim and Stormwater Management Modeling (SWMM) software. The software was used to represent impacts that climate variability individually and combined, may have on downstream stakeholders and receiving water systems in Salt Lake city, Utah, USA. Primary stakeholders included downstream water rights users, Farmington Bay waterfowl management area and the migratory birds that rely on Farmington Bay and the advocates that represent them. The steps to reach this goal were broken down incrementally to: (1) Characterize daily inflows to Farmington Bay, (2) Provide daily inflows from natural and urban runoff to the Jordan river, (3) Create a daily water balance model of Farmington Bay, (4) Demonstrate the model with and without stormwater GI and climate variability scenarios and (5) Determine trends of inflow to the Jordan River, duck clubs and Farmington Bay under various scenarios. For this case study the implications of climate variability on the water system are much greater than implementing GI.

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  • Systems Reliability of Flow Control in Dam Safety

    12th International Conference on Applications of Statistics and Probability in Civil Engineering, ICASP12 – July 2015

    Adiel Komey, Qianli Deng, Gregory Baecher, P. Andy Zielinkski and Tyler Atkinson

    The reliable performance of a spillway system depends on the many environmental and operational demand functions placed upon it by basin hydrology, the hydraulic conditions at reservoirs and dams, operating rules for the cascade of reservoirs in the basin, and the vagaries of human and natural factors such as operator interventions or natural disturbances such as ice and floating debris. These systems interact to control floods, condition flows, and filter high frequencies in the river discharge. Their function is to retain water volumes and to pass flows in a controlled way. A systems simulation approach is presented for grappling with these varied influences on flow-control systems in hydropower installations. The river system studied is a series of four power stations in northern Ontario. At the head of the cascade is a seasonally-varying inflow. The remaining three dams downstream have little storage capacity. Each has two vertical lift gates and all four structures have approximately the same spillway capacity. The problem is to conceptualize a systems engineering model for the operation of the dams, spillways, and other components; then to employ the model through stochastic simulation to investigate protocols for the safe operation of the spillway and flow control system.

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  • Developing "Flood Loss Curve" for City of Sacramento

    ASFPM Conference – June 2015

    Md N M Bhuyian, Joseph Thornton, and Alfred Kalyanapu, Tennessee Tech University

    The current research presents the development of a "flood loss curve" for the city of Sacramento, California. A flood loss curve is defined as a functional relationship between direct flood damages and flood intensity. This study uses a series of design flood events for the American River to investigate possible damage caused at different flood intensities that the city may experience in future. These scenarios are generated using a Monte Carlo-based hydrograph generator, and are used as inputs for a HEC-RAS model to develop flood intensity parameters including flood inundation extents, depths, velocities and arrival time. These simulated flood parameters are input into HEC-FIA to compute direct damages. Results indicated a positive correlation between losses and flood intensity, reinforcing our flood loss curve concept and its value. This methodology can be used for preliminary vulnerability assessment and ‘back of the envelope’ loss estimates for impending flood events.

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  • Investigation of the Impact of Streamflow Temporal Variation on Dam Overtopping Risk: Case Study of a High-Hazard Dam

    World Environmental and Water Resources Congress – May 2015

    Ebrahim Ahmadisharaf and Alfred J. Kalyanapu, Tennessee Tech University

    This study investigates the impact of streamflow temporal variation on annual overtopping risk of Burnett Dam using a risk and reliability analysis approach. Overtopping risk is defined as the probability of reservoir inflow exceeding the spillway capacity. A performance function is used to determine the annual overtopping risk, which has two primary inputs: 1) dam resistance: total spillway capacity; and 2) maximum load: highest inflow discharge. Highest inflow discharge is determined by analysis of the peak streamflow records of a gaging station upstream of the dam. At each year, the highest peak streamflow is routed through the dam upstream channel using a calibrated hydrologic model. Taking the routed inflow, the overtopping risk is determined in each year. Temporal change in the overtopping risk is finally investigated in 1989-2013 period using Mann-Kendall Test.

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  • Evaluating the Impacts of Environmental Flow Alternatives on Reservoir and Recreational Operations Using System Dynamics Modeling

    Journal of The American Water Resources Association, Volume 51, Issue 1, pages 33-46 – February 2015

    Ryan R. Morrison Postdoctoral Fellow and Mark C. Stone Assistant Professor

    Providing environmental flows is increasingly a management obligation in many water resource systems. Evaluating the impacts of environmental flow alternatives on other water uses in a basin can be a challenge, especially when collaborating with stakeholders. GoldSim was used to construct and perform system dynamics simulation to assess the impacts of four environmental flow alternatives in the Rio Chama, New Mexico. Compared to other system dynamics modeling software, GoldSim provided the unique capability of allowing model variables to be sampled using Monte Carlo sampling. The model was developed to examine impacts of each alternative on reservoir storage and releases, hydropower production and revenue, and whitewater boating access. Results from the model indicate that the proposed flow recommendations on the Rio Chama will generally decrease annual reservoir storage, increase median flows, and have minimal impacts on hydropower production and whitewater rafting on the system. The Rio Chama case study is a promising example of how SD modeling can be used in the early stages of environmental flow studies and why it is compatible with collaborative modeling.

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  • Upper Lefroy Community Dam Scenario and Optimisation Modelling

    Verterra Ecological Engineering Projects Showcase – January 2015

    Verterra Ecological Engineering

    The Department of Water Western Australia required a means to investigate, assess and recommend the most viable option for a local water supply scheme incorporating community dams and associated infrastructure. To meet the their requirements, Verterra constructed a Goldsim model to illustrate expected grower behaviour and likely cost of water from a range of 1-2 GL community dam options. GoldSim is dynamic probabilistic software model which can be used to develop a water management framework and methodology for integrating different components of water infrastructure while accounting for natural variability in rainfall and streamflow. This probabilistic modelling approach enabled a risk analysis to be incorporated into the evaluation of potential environmental and economic impacts. The scenario testing and optimisation model developed by Verterra allowed the client to undertake preliminary exploration of the effect of a range of different configurations and usage behaviours of the proposed community dam system, and to explore the reliability and cost of water.

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  • Simulation Model of Pumped Hydroelectric Power Plant

    Acta Electrotechnica et Informatica, Vol. 15, No. 2, 2015, 57–61, DOI: 10.15546/aeei-2015-0019 – January 2015

    Miroslav Mikita, Michael Kolcun; Department of Electric Power Engineering, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics, Technical University of Kosice, Letna 9, 042 00 Kosice, Slovak Republic

    The Pumped hydroelectric power plants are very suitable way to avoid the unpredictable imbalance in power generation, but its construction is very expensive and reliability is very long-term. Every single pumped hydroelectric power plant is like rechargeable battery which can generate electricity when there is a deficiency in power generation and also can consume when there is conversely reserve on power generation. That's the main reason why is important to build such sources of energy. When you create new project of every power plant that prediction of it's performance is highly important and simulation software is useful in this cases. For good prediction is also important true data in simulation and knowledge about locality of this project, because every project varies from other similar projects. For obtaining optimal conditions of using pumped hydroelectric power plant is needed to find best algorithm of generating or consuming the electricity. GoldSim was used to develop this pumped storage model.

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  • Poverty Bay Groundwater Management: MAR Feasibility Assessment and GoldSim Groundwater Management Tool (Stage 1B)

    Report Submitted to Gisborne District Council, New Zealand – August 2014

    Golder Associates

    The Gisborne District Council (GDC) has identified long term water availability in the Poverty Bay area as being a potentially limiting factor in future regional development. A substantial proportion of the water used for irrigation across the Poverty Bay Flats is derived from groundwater. Reviews of groundwater levels in the Poverty Bay Flats area have identified declining groundwater pressure trends as an environmental and water supply issue. These trends are linked to increasing groundwater abstraction for irrigation purposes.

    The GDC is investigating water management options to stabilize groundwater pressure trends and increase water supply reliability in the Poverty Bay area. One option under investigation is the use of Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR), to replenish and sustain groundwater yields from aquifers beneath the Poverty Bay Flats. Golder Associates (NZ) Limited (Golder) was commissioned by GDC to undertake a feasibility assessment for a MAR program.

    The MAR feasibility assessment carried out by Golder included an evaluation of the challenges and needs for Poverty Bay water management, including source water options, direct injection and surface infiltration options and water quality management requirements.

    A Groundwater Management Tool (GMT), incorporating a calibrated water balance model for the Makauri Aquifer, has been developed to a demonstration stage for the GDC using the Goldsim software package. The GMT is intended to support the GDC in assessing options for the management and replenishment of the Poverty Bay Flats groundwater supplies, within the framework of water management planning for the region.

    Golder's feasibility analysis shows a groundwater replenishment scheme has the potential to:

    • Stabilise current downward trends in groundwater levels within the Makauri Aquifer
    • Restore groundwater pressures within the aquifer
    • Enable the establishment of a sustainable yield for the aquifer that exceeds current usage

    In summary, Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) has the potential to replenish and support sustainable groundwater yields from aquifers beneath the Poverty Bay Flats. The results from a risk-benefits analysis indicate that the further Stage II analysis, design and costing for a pilot injection MAR site is recommended.

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  • Integrated Urban Water Resources Modeling in a Semi-Arid Mountainous Region Using a Cyber-Infrastructure Framework

    11th International Conference on Hydroinformatics Conference Proceeding Paper – August 2014

    Erfan Goharian, Steve J. Burian, University of Utah

    A GoldSim model was used to facilitate an integrated water resources management approach to deal with challenges related to increasing water demand, uncertain future climate variability, and conflicts related to water rights and access to water supplies. The GoldSim model was integrated with a web-based user interface to better facilitate stakeholder engagement and k-12 outreach and education activities.

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  • Stormwater Harvesting Model

    Improving an Urban Creek by Taking Away the Water – July 2014

    A Tipene, Parsons Brinckerhoff

    A sustainable stormwater harvesting project was evaluated to determine the ecological and water quality impact in a watershed located in New South Wales, Australia. GoldSim was used to simulate the operation of the proposed stormwater harvesting scheme. The model includes flow diversion structures, a harvest pool and complex behavior logic for the pumps and associated storage facilities.

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  • Using GoldSim for Joint Probability Assessment of Closure Times on Linear Infrastructure

    Visions to Realities - Stormwater Queensland Conference proceedings, Noosa – June 2014

    E. Symons, C. Gimber, Kellogg Brown and Root Pty Ltd

    Flooding of major regional roads and rail corridors severely disrupts transport operations including the export of mined minerals from central and north Queensland which contribute heavily to the Australian economy. It is important for proponents developing new infrastructure and operators of existing infrastructure to understand annual closure times resulting from flooding. Long linkages of road or rail that cross a number of catchment basins and a large number of drainage lines can be difficult to assess due to spatial variation, moving storms and concurrent storms. The objective of this paper is to create a simple methodology, using joint probability, to quantitatively assess the closure time along linear infrastructure. For this paper, GoldSim was used to represent the road or rail system.

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  • Managing Complex Water Resource Systems for Ecological Integrity: Evaluating Tradeoffs and Uncertainty

    PhD Dissertation, University of New Mexico – May 2014

    Ryan Richard Morrison

    This is a doctoral dissertation describing the methodology used to develop a probabilistic, dynamic simulation model that evaluates the impacts of environmental flow alternatives. These alternatives implement various water use schemes in the Rio Chama basin in New Mexico. This work evaluates the influence of various flows on cottonwood recruitment, reservoir storage, hydropower production, and whitewater boating. This project used multiple tools with GoldSim's role focusing on the probabilistic and dynamic simulation of the hydroclimatic uncertainties related to management operations in the water system.

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  • The CO2-PENS Water Treatment Model: Evaluation of Cost Profiles and Importance Scenarios for Brackish Water Extracted During Carbon Storage.

    Journal article, Energy Procedia 63, 7205–7214 – January 2014

    Sullivan Graham, E.Ja, Chu, S., Pawar, R.J., Stauffer, P.H. with Los Alamos National Laboratory

    Extraction of in-situ water is one of the options for minimizing the impact of large-scale CO2 injection in saline aquifers or during enhanced oil recovery (EOR). The amount of water to be produced could be significant depending on in-situ conditions and injection parameters. Evaluating the costs of treatment is complex, as the quality of the water may vary considerably from treatments based on well-known seawater chemistry, including reverse osmosis. We evaluated a brackish-salinity water to be extracted from a future CO2 injection and storage location in eastern China for prototype treatment costs for both cooling water and boiler water final treatment goals. Costs for treatment of the water, excluding costs for organic pretreatment, were within the range of previously analyzed costs for higher-salinity waters but are likely to be lower when economies of scale are included for a full-scale, higher volume treatment facility. Importance analysis lends insight into process factors that may not contribute the highest unit costs to treatment but on whole are very important to total system costs. We found that the acid rate for pretreatment, zero-liquid discharge disposal, feed water temperature, and water transportation costs, were the most important factors within total system costs for this analysis. The CO2-PENS Water Treatment Model was developed using GoldSim.

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  • Modeling Integration Package - Linking SWMM to GoldSim

    Research Project Report, University of Utah – January 2014

    Chris York, Steven Switzer, Travis Christensen, Jeff Huber, and Stephen Daras, University of Utah

    A need to link SWMM (Storm Water Management Model) and GoldSim together was identified in the Urban Water Research Group at the University of Utah. This is an effort to link model results together to answer a greater number of research questions and enhance modelling results by using multiple software programs. The most efficient way to link SWMM and GoldSim was determined to be through a central database. Once model results were stored in the database, the values could then be shared with both programs. Additional analysis was performed using R and model results were shared via HydroServer.

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  • Stochastic Simulation of Inflow Hydrographs for Wivenhoe and Somerset Dams

    ANCOLD Conference – January 2014

    Phillip Jordan, Alan Seed, Rory Nathan, Peter Hill, Eva Kordomenidi, Clive Pierce, Michael Leonard, Jacobs Australia

    The overall catchment area of the Brisbane River is 13,500 km², of which 7,039 km² is upstream of Wivenhoe Dam. For any individual flood in the Brisbane River catchment, the flooding outcome along the river downstream of Wivenhoe Dam depends upon the volume, peak flow and timing of the flood hydrographs generated from the individual catchments upstream of Somerset Dam, between Somerset and Wivenhoe Dam, and from the tributaries of the Brisbane River downstream of Wivenhoe Dam, including Lockyer Creek and the Bremer River. This paper discusses the stochastic framework that was used to generate the 5449 sets of inflow hydrographs, to develop and stress test a dam operations model. The stochastic simulations were driven by 600 different space-time patterns of rainfall generated using a stochastic space-time multiplicative cascade model. Eight significant storms were identified in the radar archive to identify parameter sets for the stochastic generation algorithm and 600 replicates of space-time rainfall were generated. The statistical properties of spatial patterns of 48-hour rainfall bursts on eight major subcatchments of the Brisbane River catchment from the 600 stochastic replicates were verified against the same statistics derived from 38 major flood causing rainfall events observed in the catchment. The hydrographs were generated using an URBS rainfall runoff routing model of the Brisbane River catchment, which was calibrated to 38 historical flood events (between 1955 and 2013) and tested on a further 10 historical flood events (between 1887 and 1947). The stochastically simulated sets of inflow hydrographs were then used to assess the impact of variations in flood operation rules for Wivenhoe and Somerset dams.

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  • Wivenhoe Somerset Dam Optimisation Study – Simulating Dam Operations for Numerous Floods

    ANCOLD Conference – January 2014

    Michel Raymond, Seqwater

    This paper presents the methods used to apply a Flood Operation Simulation Model, and the methods used to present results of thousands of flood simulations in a way that different operational options could be compared. The approach was found to be valuable to understand the capacity of the dams to mitigate floods. The study identified shortcomings for the conventional design event approach to flood estimation. A broader range of stochastic floods was an advantage to assess flood mitigation performance and extreme floods of interest to dam safety.

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  • Holistic Dam Operations Assessment for Southeast Queensland

    ANCOLD Conference – January 2014

    Luke Toombes, Rob Ayre, Aurecon Australasia Pty Ltd

    Many large dams are built as multi-purpose structures, providing both flood mitigation and bulk water storage, but requiring a trade-off in functionality between those purposes. In response to the Millennium Drought (2001 to 2009) closely followed by devastating floods in 2011, the State of Queensland initiated a comprehensive review of the operation of its flood mitigation dams. Part of this study involved development of an Integrated Assessment Methodology to provide an informed and unbiased assessment of the competing factors affecting dam operations. The methodology assessed the primary variables of flood damage and other impacts, future bulk water infrastructure and water security requirements in the form of a net present cost/benefit. The study concluded that modification of the dam flood release strategy to reduce flood damage during large events would come at the expense of increased frequency of minor flooding, or vice versa, with minimal net benefit. Similarly, reducing bulk water storage to increase flood mitigation would increase water supply costs by a similar magnitude to the flood damage prevented.

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  • A Method and Cost Model for Treatment of Water Extracted During Geologic CO2 Storage

    Journal article for the International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control – December 2013

    Enid Sullivan, Shaoping Chu, Philip Stauffer, Richard Middleton, and Rajesh Pawar with Los Alamos National Laboratory

    Extraction of water as a part of CO2 storage may be desirable for risk management and process optimization. Treatment and repurposing of this water creates a useful resource and reduces the volumes that must otherwise be disposed. To better understand the tradeoff of costs versus processes and risks, we use a systems approach to evaluate treatment costs that are reasonable for the chemical and physical qualities (salinity, temperature, pH and turbidity) of water that could be extracted from target geologic formations. We evaluate primary and secondary pretreatments, membrane desalination processes (reverse osmosis and nanofiltration), thermal processes (multiple effect distillation and multi-stage flash distillation), and several concentrate (brine) disposal methods. The system model was developed in GoldSim. The results indicate that for waters extracted from storage sites, salinities and temperatures may often be higher than for municipal treatment scenarios. Thus, thermal treatment methods are more cost-feasible than membrane methods in many cases, although pressure recovery methods for reverse osmosis can mitigate this. Treatment costs including concentrate disposal fall within a range of US$0.50–2.50/ton CO2 injected, although some costs can be much higher (up to US$30/ton CO2 under certain concentrate disposal cost ranges). A sensitivity analysis shows that temperature is the most important in determining costs followed by selection of concentrate disposal method.

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  • Impact of Spatial Resolution on Downstream Flood Hazard Due to Dam Break Events using Probabilistic Flood Modeling

    5th Dam Safety Conference – September 2013

    Ebrahim Ahmadisharaf, Md Nowfel Mahmud Bhuyian, and Alfred Kalyanapu, Tennessee Tech University

    The objective of this study is to address the impact of spatial resolution on the relative accuracy of downstream flood hazard after a dam break event. It is hypothesized that higher spatial resolution will significantly increase the model predictive ability and the accuracy of flood hazard maps. The current study employs a two-dimensional (2D) flood model, Flood2D-GPU in a probabilistic framework to investigate these spatial resolution impacts by applying dam break simulations on Burnett Dam near Asheville, NC. The dam break hydrograph is chosen as the uncertain parameter as it adds greater source of uncertainties in most situations. Using GoldSim, Monte Carlo modeling software, 99 stochastic dam break hydrographs representing various possible scenarios are generated. These hydrographs are input into Flood2D-GPU to produce probability weighted flood hazard maps. The probabilistic simulations are carried out for 9m, 31m, 46m, 62m and 93m spatial resolutions. The outcomes of this study will assist dam break modelers to enhance their Emergency Action Plans by providing recommendations for suitable spatial resolution and to avoid increased modeling time.

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  • Water Production Tool for Coal Seam Gas

    Enhancement of the Coal Seam Gas Water Production Tool, Deliverable 4: Addendum to Technical Report – March 2013

    Greg Keir, Lucy Reading, Sue Vink

    A water production tool was developed by Klohn Crippen Berger using GoldSim to predict the potential volumes of water extracted by the coal seam gas industry within the Bowen and Surat Basins in Queensland over the next 50 years.

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  • Colorado River Planning and Modeling

    Online Presentation, ASU Decision Center – January 2013

    Mohammed Mahmoud, Central Arizona Project

    This presentation is a summary of Central Arizona Project's "On-River Model", which was built in GoldSim to analyze system capacity in response to seasonal variations in demand, canal and reservoir operation rules, and optimization of power consumption.

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  • A CO2-PENS Model of Methods and Costs for Treatment of Water Extracted During Geologic Carbon Sequestration

    International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control – December 2012

    Enid Sullivan, Shaoping Chu, Philip Stauffer, and Rajesh Pawar with Los Alamos National Laboratory

    Extraction of water during subsurface carbon sequestration may be useful for the control of CO2 placement, reducing pressure risks, and mitigating environmental risks. Desalination of this water may be possible if costs are kept low, in order to minimize the quantity that must be reinjected or otherwise disposed. Added value may be recovered in the form of treated water that can be reused by carbon capture, sequestration, and other industrial processes. Total dissolved solids will range from 10,000mg/L up to over 100,000 mg/L, and temperatures may range up to 120°C, once the water is brought to the surface. We have developed a system-level, mesoscale analysis module for the CO2-Predicting engineered natural system model to analyze the feasibility of treatment, the costs of treatment, the value of energy recovery, and the costs of concentrate disposal. Costs are derived from a database of reported literature values. The model, developed in GoldSim, allows the user to select the most economic options for treatment, to compare costs, and to understand the trade-off of risks and costs. Results of preliminary modeling indicate that while reverse osmosis is feasible within certain temperature and salinity ranges, nanofiltration and thermal methods may be more cost-effective or otherwise feasible.

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  • The Impact of Climate Change on a Mine Water Source

    International Mine Water Association Annual Conference – October 2012

    Conor O'Hara, Jaco Grobler, Greg Hookey, Jan Vermaak, Golder Associates Pty Ltd

    GoldSim was used to simulate watershed runoff using stochastic rainfall (Markov chain) data and the application of climate change projections. The modeling approach resulted in the estimation of 30-yr flow series that reflected prevailing rainfall trends with the ability to consider the predicted climate change. Using GoldSim's optimization tool, random watershed parameters were generated to produce alternative simulated flow series for the planning horizon.

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  • Application of a Life Cycle Simulation Model to Evaluate Impacts of Water Management and Conservation Actions on an Endangered Population of Chinook Salmon

    Environmental Modeling & Assessment, October 2012, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 455–467 – October 2012

    Steven C. Zeug, Paul S. Bergman, Bradley J. Cavallo, and Kristopher S. Jones, Cramer Fish Sciences

    Fisheries and water resource managers are challenged to maintain stable or increasing populations of Chinook salmon in the face of increasing demand on the water resources and habitats that salmon depend on to complete their life cycle. Alternative management plans are often selected using professional opinion or piecemeal observations in place of integrated quantitative information that could reduce uncertainty in the effects of management plans on population dynamics. We developed a stochastic life cycle simulation model for an endangered population of winter-run Chinook salmon in the Sacramento River, California, USA with the goal of providing managers a tool for more effective decision making and demonstrating the utility of life cycle models for resource management. Sensitivity analysis revealed that the input parameters that influenced variation in salmon escapement were dependent on which age class was examined and their interactions with other inputs (egg mortality, Delta survival, ocean survival). Certain parameters (river migration survival, harvest) that were hypothesized to be important drivers of population dynamics were not identified in sensitivity analysis; however, there was a large amount of uncertainty in the value of these inputs and their error distributions. Thus, the model also was useful in identifying future research directions. Simulation of variation in environmental inputs indicated that escapement was significantly influenced by a 10% change in temperature whereas larger changes in other inputs would be required to influence escapement. The model presented provides an effective demonstration of the utility of life cycle simulation models for decision making and provides fisheries and water managers in the Sacramento system with a quantitative tool to compare the impact of different resource use scenarios.

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  • Forecasting Coal Seam Gas Water Production in Queensland's Surat and Southern Bowen Basins

    Technical Report, Prepared for the State of Queensland (Department of Natural Resources and Mines) – September 2012

    Klohn Crippen Berger

    A basin-wide model was built to help forecast produced water from coal seam gas (CSG) operations in Queensland, Australia. This report describes how the tool works and reports a summary of findings for the forecast period of 2010-2060.The Water Production Tool (WPT) required a robust software platform to accommodate both quantitative inputs and inferred relationships. The platform needed to be flexible, transparent and represent the processes inherent in the system with appropriate recognition of uncertainty in all of the variables. The platform selected for the WPT was GoldSim, which permitted construction of a multi-tiered, practical and modifiable tool, with the additional option of stochastic (Monte Carlo) modelling.

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  • Impacts of Future Climate Conditions and Forecasted Population Growth on Water Supply Systems in the Puget Sound Region

    Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management – July 2011

    Lee Traynham, Richard Palmer, and Austin Polebitski

    Regional water supply models were developed using GoldSim to predict the impacts to water supply systems in Seattle, Everett, Tacoma, and Bellevue, Washington. This research explored the ability of regional water supply systems to meet future water demands given rising populations and climate change. Three sets of climate impacted streamflows were created for future years 2025, 2050, and 2075 using three General Circulation Models and two emission scenarios. The performance of each water supply system was characterized by firm yield and reliability metrics.

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  • Decision Support System for Optimizing Reservoir Operations Using Ensemble Streamflow Predictions

    J. Water Resour. Plng. and Mgmt. Volume 137, Issue 1, pp. 72-82 – January 2011

    Eset T. Alemu, Richard N. Palmer, Austin Polebitski, and Bruce Meaker

    This paper discusses a GoldSim reservoir operations model that was developed for a public utility district in Washington, USA. This link takes you to the abstract and lets you download the full paper.

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  • Climate Change Impacts on Water Management in the Puget Sound Region, Washington State, USA

    Earth and Environmental Science, Climate Change – September 2010

    Julie A. Vano, Nathalie Voisin, Lan Cuo, Alan F. Hamlet, Marketa McGuire Elsner, Richard N. Palmer, Austin Polebitski and Dennis P. Lettenmaier

    GoldSim was used to build 3 water resources models to see how different systems in the Puget Sound area might perform under various climate change scenarios over the next century. Changes in future water demands were also considered. Streamflow was simulated using the distributed hydrology-soil-vegetation model, driven by downscaled ensembles of climate simulations archived from the 2007 IPCC Fourth Assessment Report. These streamflows were used as input to the water resources models. The models predicted that the water systems should remain reliable under changing climate conditions but if demand increases then the reliability significantly declines.

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  • Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District Water Balance Model: A Foundational Component of a District Resource Management Plan

    USCID Water Management Conference Proceeding – March 2010

    Thaddeus Bettner, Grant Davids, Davids Engineering

    Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District (GCID) developed a Resources Plan (Plan) to establish improved policies and decision making processes to better and more actively manage its available water supplies. GoldSim was used to simulate the water balance, which will help improve the District's data management and reporting systems and to better analyze historic and possible future water supplies and demands.

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  • Integrated Management of a Finite Water Supply in the Desert

    ASCE Conference Proceeding Paper – May 2009

    Daniel Wendell, Steve Shultz, and Aditya Tyagi, CH2MHILL

    A GoldSim model was used to help determine how to maximize the "lifespan" of local water supplies, minimize costs, and avoid adverse impacts at an army base near the Mojave Desert, California. To meet the needs of this project, the entire water cycle of the area was evaluated in an integrated and quantitative manner, including: modeling local groundwater supplies; evaluating potential development of remote water supplies and associated costs; conducting an end-use water demand and conservation analysis; developing a recycled water irrigation program; implementing an indirect wastewater reuse (i.e., recharge) program; developing an operations program designed to mitigate adverse impacts such as land subsidence; and assessing cost, power consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions from the various alternatives.

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  • Performance of Water Supply Operations Measured by Reliability and Marginal Cost

    Master's Thesis, University of Utah – May 2008

    Jason Lillywhite, University of Utah

    This study uses GoldSim to apply a concept of combining marginal cost and reliability in an operational water supply model. Reliability and efficiency can significantly impact performance of producing and delivering water. Rapid population growth, climate change, extended droughts, and increasing public scrutiny are all reasons why it is becoming more important for water supply planners to develop strategies that provide reliable and cost-efficient solutions to the public. This model uses an approach of assessing reliability of water supply and marginal costs by incorporating both supply and demand-side management options. Risk-based reliability of the system is estimated as a function of shortages in flow rate and system storage volumes. The new approach is applied to a water supply planning model for the Washington County Water Conservancy District, a regional water wholesaler located in St. George, Utah. The results of this study show that increased operational efficiencies can be found while maintaining higher reliability in the system. The results also show that this approach can provide better insight into timing of large future supply acquisitions.

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  • Water Supply Modeling for the North Bowen Coal Basin (Queensland)

    Proceedings of the 2006 Water in Mining Conference – January 2006

    Shaun Davidge, Aditya Jha and Russell Merz, Golder Associates

    This paper describes a project which used GoldSim to evaluate infrastructure improvements for a water supply in Queensland, Australia.

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  • Using Dynamic System Models for Water Use Accountability and Planning in Georgia

    Proceedings of the 2005 Georgia Water Resources Conference, Athens, GA – April 2005

    Joe Volpe and Charlie Voss, Golder Associates

    This paper describes how dynamic simulation models can be used to make water use planning more quantitative.

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