What is the difference between WaterCAD and WaterGEMS?

  Applies To 
WaterGEMS, WaterCAD
  Version(s): V8i, CONNECT Edition
  Original Author: Mark Pachlhofer, Bentley Technical Support Group


What is the difference between WaterCAD and WaterGEMS?


WaterGEMS is a superset of WaterCAD, so you will get everything you have in WaterCAD plus more with WaterGEMS. Model files use the same file format so files saved in the same version can be opened between both products (if the model was saved in a version less than or equal to the version of the product you're opening it with.) The user interface is identical with the exception of the tools that are not available in WaterCAD.

There are two main differences between WaterCAD and WaterGEMS.

Six additional modules are available in WaterGEMS

The following modules are available in WaterGEMS but not in WaterCAD.

As of December, 2018 (starting with version the related menu items/buttons for these extra modules are not available within WaterCAD's user interface, with the exception of Darwin Calibrator and Darwin Designer which are available to support those who bought separate licenses for these modules when they were available for separate purchase. If you only have a license for WaterCAD and had not purchased a separate Calibrator or Designer license in the past, you will only be able to perform Manual runs (not optimized runs). You would need to upgrade to WaterGEMS (which can open WaterCAD models) to use optimized runs in Calibrator and Designer.

1)  Pipe Renewal Planner

Asset management tool that ranks pipes based on performance aspects (pipe capacity, pipe break history, and critical pipe segments) and optionally, property aspects (material, location, year installed, etc...) to choose which pipes are the most critical to monitor for repairs.

*The results from pipe renewal planner can be used in finalizing your capital/master plan

2)  Darwin Designer

Enter your hydraulic constraints, allowable pipe sizes, and associated unit costs and run automatic or manual designs. The genetic algorithm methodology will evaluate hundreds of thousands of design and rehabilitation strategies based on any of these three objectives: cost minimization, maximizing benefits, or multi-objective.

3)  Darwin Calibrator

Find optimal values for any combination of the model parameters such as pipe roughness, junction demands, and link operational status, that best match the real-life situation in your hydraulic system. Darwin Calibrator is effective at predicting the most likely areas of hidden leakage hotspots by employing a powerful genetic algorithm optimization technology.

*The leakage detection feature won the IWA Project Innovation Award in 2008

4)  Darwin Scheduler

Find optimal pump operations for fixed or variable speed pumps, optimize your pumps to reduce energy used in the system, and/or reduce the cost of operations of the pumps in the system

5)  Skelebrator

Skelebrator automatically removes network complexity while maintaining connectivity, hydraulic equivalence, and reallocating assigned demands to your chosen specification

6)  SCADAConnect


Connect your SCADA data directly to your model to easily calibrate an unlimited number of  signals  based upon real world conditions, apply initial real world conditions, or compute demands based upon SCADA measured flow rates

Four Different Platforms


Includes a Standalone version plus the ability to integrate with three platforms: MicroStation, AutoCAD, and ArcGIS.

With ArcGIS integration you have the ability to leverage ArcGIS capabilities. WaterGEMS provides full geodatabase integration, so you can create, display, edit, run, map, and analyze hydraulic models from a geospatial environment. Unlike competing solutions, WaterGEMS and WaterCAD shares the same file type across all the available environments (ArcGIS, AutoCAD, Microstation, & Standalone).This allows the user to easily collaborate with contractors, clients, or colleagues, who can work with the model on their preferable platform and send it back to you to work on in your preferable platform. For example, they will be able to work with the ArcMap platform and send the model back to you with no import, conversion, or loss of information in any way and you could work with the model in Standalone, Microstation, or AutoCAD platform.



WaterCAD can be purchased as a StandAlone application where you get the StandAlone version and  ability to integrate with Microstation. It can also be purchased with the ability to integrate with the AutoCAD platform where you get the StandAlone, Microstation, and AutoCAD versions at additional cost. 

WaterCAD cannot be integrated with ArcGIS and doesn't have the ability to use the six tools mentioned above. Beyond this, equal versions of  WaterCAD (i.e. and WaterGEMS (i.e. are identical.