November 10, 2017

GoldSim at AWRA 2017 National Conference

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The GoldSim booth in the exhibit hall
I recently traveled to Portland, Oregon for the AWRA 2017 National Conference to exhibit and participate in a presentation. With over 70 oral presentations to choose from, I was able to hear about a lot of the latest developments in the world of water resources. I also learned more about some of the unique challenges the Pacific Northwest is facing due to climate change, flood risk, and water quality concerns. Some topics were particularly relevant to GoldSim, such as decision support, risk-based planning, human health risk, reservoir operations, and fate of contaminants in water systems.

An interesting GoldSim application was presented by Rebecca Pluche of San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to summarize on-going work to help manage critical dam operations during construction onsite.

The presentation was called "Managing a California Reservoir During Dam Re-Construction, Flood, and Drought Using a GoldSim System Model". An abstract of the presentation can be downloded from the AWRA conference web page, here. GoldSim was chosen for this study because of its flexible platform, ease of use, and fast run time.

Rebecca Pluche presenting findings of the study
Hydrological forecasts and systems operations were combined in GoldSim to manage water level on Calaveras Reservoir, a 100,000 acre‐foot reservoir providing water to the city of San Francisco. Calaveras Dam is being re‐built for seismic safety while Calaveras Reservoir is being actively operated for water supply and environmental purposes. Until 2019, the reservoir must be tightly
Aerial view of Calaveras Rerservoir
managed at low water levels to accommodate construction activities and seismic safety limitations.  Maintaining a low water level is difficult because the basin has flashy hydrology and the dam outletworks 1) have low capacity at low water levels, 2) are unavailable for extended periods, and 3) are regularly being physically re‐configured.  Failure to manage water levels can result in costly damage and delays in the construction project, as well as elevated risk of complete dam failure.  The GoldSim model supports decision and risk analysis by simulating future performance while quantitatively representing the inherent uncertainty and risks. This model combined hydrologic inflow ensemble forecasts, hydraulic routing, systems logic, and operational choices to give operators a reservoir level forecast.  Physical changes in infrastructure were incorporated by addition of new logic such as elevation‐discharge capacity curves. The model can be run at varying time‐scales for both flood‐risk management and medium‐term water supply planning.  During the very wet winter of 2016‐17, thirty‐one forecasts were made, providing a vital decision support tool to help operators cap the maximum water level and meet the end‐of‐season water level target before the most recent construction shutdown.

Below are screen captures from the presentation:
Dashboard of the model
Model at the root level
Probabilistic time history results
Chart developed using model outputs

New Video Demonstration

A new demonstration video was developed for the GoldSim exhibit booth, showing a hydraulic system being simulated in slow speed so you can watch as the results develop over time. You can download this model from here.

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