A few weeks ago, I received a beautiful rose from my daughter for my birthday. I did not have a vase for it so I used an old glass milk bottle and it worked just as beautifully as a vase. Have you ever had a similar situation where you found a new use for an old item?
Sustainability is about preserving the resources that we have and giving them new life by assigning new functions.
Many of our dams and hydropower projects in the U.S. have been in operation for decades. In order to meet regulatory requirements, many studies have been performed on these projects, which often resulted in various hydrologic and hydraulic models, such as HEC-HMS, HEC-RAS, HEC-ResSim, etc.
Each of these models was originally developed with a specific purpose, but once the project was complete, the models were put on the shelf and seldom used again.
Do you ever wonder if there are ways to make these models more effective? The answer is yes! Your existing models have the power to be turned into real-time decision-support tools. Let’s dive into a few examples regarding flood mapping and reservoir operations.
Real-time Flood Mapping
In the U.S., dam failure analyses and inundation mapping have been completed for almost all “high” and “significant” hazard-potential dams. These exercises typically focus on sunny-day and Inflow Design Flood (IDF) conditions using pre-defined inflow hydrographs and hypothetical dam breach scenarios. They generally don’t account for more common scenarios, like:
- Experiencing a 50-year storm instead of an IDF
- Failure of the embankment instead of the concrete spillway occurring during a flood event
- Potential inundation from a downstream levee failure to plan for emergency evacuation
The reality is that every storm event is different and can result in very different inundation conditions and demand for emergency flood management.
By connecting your existing HEC-RAS models to sources of inflow forecast, we can turn your model into a real-time flood mapping tool. With real-time inflow forecast, you can estimate the actual projected inundation in the downstream area and make meaningful emergency management decisions.
Various sources of inflow forecast are available. The National Weather Service River Forecasting Centers provide river forecasting at approximately 3,700 locations on major waterways in the U.S. Another product by the National Weather Service, the National Water Model, provides seamless river forecasting at over 2.7 million river reaches throughout the country. In some cases, sources of rainfall forecast can be used in conjunction with your existing HEC-HMS and HEC-RAS models, providing more data to analyze for more accurate insights.