So you bought a water model, now what?

By Mike Rosh (edited by Frank Conforti)

With over 14 years of experience in the water industry as an Environmental Engineer and as a volunteer firefighter, I have a passion for water and I think it shows.  Let’s “dive” in shall we?

So, you just bought a water modeling solution and want to jump in. Where to begin? First, take a deep breath and establish your goals and objectives:

What do you need to do?

What do you want the model to tell you?

Where is your data stored?

Who controls your data? 

My advice: start small. Document the goals of your organization and put together your core team to see it through. That way you can measure the  success by short, medium and long term goals.  As tempting as it is, don’t start with “I want to reduce my energy consumption” as your initial goal (that’s a great long term goal though). Instead, short term goals should be based upon building your model, here are some examples:

  • Collect/locate paper maps, CAD and GIS data

  • Collect CIS (metering) data

  • Find Average Day demand from metering data

  • Collect elevation data (TIN, Raster, etc). Note the accuracy, for example 1m or 10m?

  • Gather pump curves for all pumps

  • Gather tank specs

Note, digitization of paper documents and refinement of data may be needed.  It’s much easier to do this before you get started building the model and someone is therefore waiting on it.

Some Medium term goals are:

  • Build the model

  • Assign all elevation, demands, pump curves and tank data

  • Determine demand patterns (notice this isn’t in short term, this can take some time and understanding of the system)

  • Start calibrating the model

Example Long term goals:

  • Calibration of model

  • Developing an Extended Period Scenario

  • Hooking SCADA to the model

There are many goals for different organizations please feel free to add your own to this list, but have a well-defined set of goals before you start. Trust me; you’ll be glad you did!

Once you have your goals, you’ll need to think about the data you’ll need to obtain them, the topic of my next article.  Stay Tuned!