Applies To 

Product(s): 
SewerGEMS, CivilStorm 
Version(s): 
CONNECT Edition, V8i 
Area: 
Help and Documentation 
Original Author: 
Mark Pachlhofer, Bentley Technical Support Group 
Problem
What is the continuity error and what's a good percentage for it?
Solution
The continuity error is the total system computational continuity balance error which accounts for total inflows into the system, outflows, flow losses due to overflows, and volume changes. It's really a measure of how hydraulically stable your results are.
Typically, anything under 5% continuity error is usually acceptable, but it really depends on the agency that is reviewing your model and what type of values that you need your model to adhere to. Obviously, the lower you can get your continuity error in any SewerGEMS model the more stable the model should be, but in order to really know if the results you are getting are good you should compare it to your system results in the field.
Mathematically, the continuity error is a discrepancy in mass balance, expressed in percent (or ratio if you change the units to unitless.)
Continuity Error = (Ti  To  Tf  Td)/Ti
Ti = Total Inflow Volume
To = Total Outflow Volume
Tf = Total Overflow volume
Td = Total Volume Change
For example, if the total inflow volume is 1000 gallons, total outflow is 700 gallons, total overflow is 100 gallons and total volume change is 100 gallons, the continuity error is:
(1000  700  100  100) / 1000
= 0.1 or 10%
Basically the total inflow is 10% greater than the total outflow+overflow+change. This mass balance error is typically due to instability in the model calculations, which could be due to problems with data input or a hydraulically challenging model. In the latter case, you may need to adjust advanced calculation options to achieve better continuity error.
Note that if the total outflow volume is greater than the total inflow volume, this equation is used instead:
Continuity Error = (Ti  To  Tf  Td)/To
You may also want to have a look at the help document titled "Troubleshooting Dynamic Wave Model Calculations" for some of the issues that can cause changes in continuity error and how to adjust the calculation options in an iterative process in order to stabilize your results.
You can also find the continuity error on a perelement basis using the Hydraulic Reviewer tool. This can help pinpoint the location of issues or challenging model arrangements.
See Also
Using the Hydraulic Reviewer
Troubleshooting unstable SewerGEMS and CivilStorm results using the Implicit solver
How to find volume (such as overflow volume) through specific elements
Using the Hydraulic Reviewer to Check PerElement Volume and Mass Balance