Enhanced Simulation, Decision Support, and Presentation Capabilities for Modsim, a River Systems Management Model

Project ID: 802
Principal Investigator: Leslie Stillwater
Research Topic: Water Operation Models and Decision Support Systems
Funded Fiscal Years: 2004, 2005 and 2006
Keywords: None

Research Question

We propose to expand the utility and capabilities of the river systems modeling tool Modsim, so that the simulation of complex operations is accessible to a wider user-base and audience. The research will extend the power and flexibility of Modsim when streamflow routing is applied. Existing complex features and procedures in Modsim will be made easier to understand and access. Documentation, error trapping, data presentation, GIS mapping functions and reports will be improved. The proposed research will answer:

* How can Modsim best serve technical users?

* How can the Modsim interface best serve technical users and a non-technical audience alike?

* How can Modsim concepts and results be made accessible to decisionmakers, water managers, water users, and other stakeholders?

Need and Benefit

River systems management models provide the cornerstone hydrologic analyses for Biological Assessments, flow augmentation studies, conjunctive use studies, water availability studies, and many other operations and planning investigations. The river systems management model, Modsim, is extremely flexible and uniquely prepared to simulate western water law and storage contracts specific to Reclamation's practice and authority, and can, therefore, provide nonparalleled decision-support capabilities for Reclamation decisionmakers. Although Modsim is free and can be downloaded from the Web, many potential modelers as well as their study coordinators and clients perceive Modsim as complicated and inaccessible. Some features and capabilities of Modsim are not available through the interface and/or reside in Perl scripts and can not be generically applied to all river systems. Research in approaches to enhance Modsim's capabilities for all users in simulation, decision support, and presentation of results will reduce modeling time and effort for Reclamation modelers, improve communication between technical and managerial staff and communication between study coordinators and the public, and reduce the cost of modeling studies.

The objectives of this research fall into three categories:

* Modifications to Modsim code, Modsim's Geographic Information System (GIS) tool (called Mapsim), and the Modsim interface to provide extended modeling capabilities and ease-of-use.

* Modifications to the Modsim interface and documentation to provide clarity, better maneuverability, error trapping, report writing, and access.

* Modifications to the Modsim interface and documentation to provide guidance and support for less experienced modelers and to provide support for presentations using GIS and extended graphics capabilities.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Bureau of Reclamation Review

The following documents were reviewed by experts in fields relating to this project's study and findings. The results were determined to be achieved using valid means.

MODSIM-DSS River Basin Management Model Enhancements (final, PDF, 1.0MB)
By Leslie Stillwater
Publication completed on September 30, 2010

This bulletin summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.

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Last Updated: 6/22/20