Water Modeling: A Best Practices Guide

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September 25, 2020

Water modeling is a technique to digitally simulate the water distribution systems used for cities. It helps municipal administrations and engineering firms to understand a range of characteristics of water networks. This includes pressure management, quality of the supply, and the equation between demand and supply.

However, a water model is more than 2D or 3D diagrams rendered by software. Utilities have to follow a set of practices to ensure that their water modeling exercise can offer value. Here, we will discuss three things that every utility needs to consider when establishing the best water modeling practices.

Getting Key Stakeholders Involved

State and local governments, regulators, environmental agencies, fire department— there are many stakeholders associated with a water distribution system. Therefore, the entity developing the water distribution models need to identify and get all stakeholders on board. There are two primary reasons to ensure every key stakeholder is on the same page when it comes to water modeling.

1. When all stakeholders are in sync, utilities can optimize the use of water models. For instance, modeling the distribution system for water quality will ensure regulators and environmental agencies know the system’s current status or how any potential repair or remodel can change it. Moreover, when the local fire department is made aware of the water distribution system's hydraulic competency, they have an understanding of the system’s minimum and maximum fire flow readiness.

2. The chances of anyone disputing a water model's output also decrease when every key stakeholder is on board. To ensure all stakeholders’ involvement, modeling software like InfoWater Pro, or InfoWorks WS Pro allow for the easy exchange of information - so all stakeholders can understand the state of the distribution system.

Taking Care of Key System Attributes

The entire exercise of water modeling will be compromised if you are not factoring in all the key attributes of the distribution system. Generally, you need to develop a model that takes into account these three characteristics and provide their near-accurate representation. 

  • Location: A water model should tell how the location of a distribution system can affect its efficiency, fail-safeness, and operating life.
  • Demand Condition: A water distribution system doesn’t experience the same demand all year round. A utility must take this variance into account while creating different models of the system.
  • Hydraulic Connection/Competency: How all the pipes, hoses, and tubes are connected with each other and the main reservoir determines the flow and retention at different inlets and outlets. Those hydraulic connections, in fact, determine the competency of the distribution system. The inferences of a water model can only be trusted if it has been developed while using accurate hydraulic connection information.

Updating the Model 

Water distribution systems undergo continuous changes due to deterioration, upgrades, renewals, and repairs. Water models need to be updated accordingly. Continuously making water models becomes feasible when you work with modeling software that offers easier and faster workflows. InfoWater Pro or InfoWorks WSPro both simplify this process.

See how quickly you can automate water distribution model maintenance in this on-demand webinar

You can use InfoWater Pro to easily connect with existing GIS databases and introduce advanced and accurate 3D models with valuable simulation features. InfoWorks WSPro easily connects your modeling interface with external telemetry data for ongoing updating and verification of the models.

Establishing best water modeling practices guarantee you can make models that help make the right decisions about the water supply network. In the discussion above, we have identified three things that ensure effective water modeling, all of which can be achieved with InfoWater Pro or InfoWorks WSPro.

Tags: water distribution, water modeling