The Upper Rio Grande Water Operations Model (URGWOM) is a computational model developed through an interagency effort and is used to simulate processes and operations of facilities in the Rio Grande Basin in New Mexico from the Colorado state-line to El Paso, Texas (flood control operations only below Caballo Dam) and complete accounting calculations for tracking the delivery of water allocated to specific users. Policy for setting dam releases along with diversions and other demands are represented in coded rules in an URGWOM ruleset. Various methods are included to represent processes such as floodwave travel times; reservoir evaporation and seepage; conveyance losses to deep percolation, evaporation, and transpiration; surface water-groundwater interaction; and irrigation return flows. Simulations may be completed for a given hydrology using either inputs for operations of facilities in the Basin or using the ruleset for the operation policy. Note that URGWOM is NOT a water supply model, a climate model, a water rights model, a rainfall/runoff model, a hydraulic model, or a groundwater model; although, such models may be used as pre-processors or post-processors with URGWOM to complete evaluations for a broader range of indicators.
The previous URGWOM modules were Accounting module used for simulations with actual data to track the status of accounts; Water Operations module used with the Forecast module to complete runs through a calendar year to prepare Annual Operating Plans; and Planning module used to evaluate long-term impacts of proposed actions (e.g. for NEPA processes or Biological Assessments) on various indicators in the basin such as deliveries to water users, river flows, interstate Compact deliveries, and the overall water budget. Now, two separate URGWOM modules are utilized for modeling exercises and decision support: Rulebased Simulation module and Accounting module. The new Rulebased Simulation module involved revamping the accounting, rules, database and DMIs, and documentation. The new module can now meet growing modeling needs including longer term simulations (e.g. 50 to 100 years) for climate change studies and to provide inputs to biology models for endangered species analyses and real-time water operations modeling. There was a need for model updates to enhance the representation of specific aspects of policy; recommendations from Center for Advanced Decision Support for Water and Environmental Systems (CADSWES) to improve simulation efficiency; simplify model administration and the set up for all applications; consolidate account to have one model for all rulebased simulations and potentially meet the needs for daily Accounting Model runs.
The Accounting Model is utilized to simulate year-to-date conditions in the Basin and provide an updated status of account storage and deliveries made to water users. Accounting Model simulations are completed using inputs for actual operations and thus do not involve using rules. Information from the Accounting Model is used to generate reports to document the status of storage in accounts.
URGWOM improves information sharing as updates on the storage in accounts is computerized and plots of predicted operations and conditions in the Basin are digital and can easily be prepared and disseminated to interested parties. URGWOM functions as a central repository for information on system status, characteristics, and projected operations.
As the plan for URGWOM development was first being created, different software options to use for URGWOM were reviewed. After an initial review of several reservoir and river simulation software packages along with the needs for an Upper Rio Grande Water Operation Model, RiverWare was selected as the software package for URGWOM. A key benefit of RiverWare is that software development is ongoing and new methods and capabilities can be added to RiverWare by the software developers to meet the evolving needs for URGWOM. RiverWare was developed by the Center for Advanced Decision Support for Water and Environmental Systems (CADSWES) at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Software development continues to be sponsored and supported by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), and Corps of Engineers (Corps). RiverWare is a generalized river basin modeling environment that can be used to develop an operations model for any configuration and to simulate operations to meet needs for flood control, water supply, recreation, water quality, and navigation. RiverWare is designed to provide river basin managers with a tool for scheduling, forecasting, and planning reservoir operations and includes extensive capabilities for rulebased simulations and water accounting. Efforts are underway to integrate RiverWare into the Corps Water Management System (CWMS). RiverWare is a licensed software package that can be obtained for a fee and training courses are available. A free RiverWare viewer is available that can be obtained to view models but cannot be used to complete runs or modify model files.
For more detailed information about RiverWare, visit the CADSWES RiverWare web page at http://cadswes.colorado.edu/riverware/