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Introduction Decision Support
System (DSS)


Modelling System

The modelling system presented here is based on some mathematical models of different dimensionality (1D, 2D, 3D) applied to the study of hydrodynamics and water quality scenarios into different areas: rivers, channels and reservoirs. These modelling interfaces for the water management on hydrographic basins should consider necessarily the inclusion of different types of mathematical models: hydrological, hydrodynamic and water quality models. These models are based on different types of software, selected after a careful evaluation.

The developed platforms presented here contemplates different software options for the modeling of hydrodynamics and water quality scenarios. For the hydrological and uni-dimensional models is used the Sobek software, while for the two-dimensional models is used the RMA2 and RMA4 software.

Web applications developed for the Modeling System:


For the prediction from short, medium and long-term surface runoff and for determining the series from water flows in the river system needed to estimate pollutant discharges from diffuse sources, we can use an hydrological model whose implementation has been successfully performed in different river basins. It's a global model whose simplicity allows to estimate quickly the surface runoff, while still allowing if properly calibrated, predict the runoff in real time.

The model comprises a series of reservoirs with a predetermined capacity, interconnected by procedures that allow the quantification of soil moisture conditions, which control the production of the river runoff. As rainfall events occurs, these reservoirs are filled. The emptying occurs by percolation, evaporation or lateral drainage. In addition, the model divides the basin into permeable and impermeable regions.

In this section we present a web interface developed for hydrological models and which is used to run simulations and view results for hydrological modeling of hydrographic basins. Includes the ability to view and change the information associated with hydroelectric plants and visualize data from hydrometric and meteorological monitoring networks, used in the simulations with the model (Figure 1).

Figure 1

Figure 1 - Main window of the web interface for hydrological models.

In the previous image you can identify the panel "Simulation Parameters", which allows you to set the input parameters and to execute the model. The plan view and the right side panel allows the visualization and query of the simulation results. The interactivity of the map makes it easy analyze the results. At the same time you have access to a set of windows with data in chart and table format. In the plan view is also possible switch between hydrodynamic results and hydrological results, for each of the considered sub-river basins (Figure 2).

Figure 2

Figure 2 - Plan view: hydrological results view and hydrodynamic results view.

This plan view is interactive. For example, moving the mouse cursor over a sub-basin, it's displayed a small text box with the identification of the sub-basin and, for the selected instant time, it's also shown the value verified in the chosen parameter (Figure 3).

Figure 3

Figure 3 - Interface for hydrological models: text box with information about sub-basin, in the instant selected.

When viewing the hydrodynamics results the same information box is also present. By selecting a particular reach/node, you will get a chart with its values throughout time (Figure 4).

Figure 4

Figure 4 - Hydrodynamics results: water level and discharges.


Figure 5 shows the main view of the river modelling graphical interface. The modelling system consists in mathematical models of the rivers network to simulate river water discharge flows and levels (hydrodynamics) and the transport of substances or properties that are used as water quality indicators. This interface allows either setting up the data needed to define new simulations and also viewing and analyze the simulation final results. For each river channel you can view their results on the longitudinal profile and plan view. For both cases, you can select the desired water line, the simulation instant and the pollutant substance value on each reach.

Figure 5

Figure 5 - Web interface for hydrodynamic models.

The profile is represented from upstream to downstream. Over the course it can be seen various types of elements, such as dam gates, weirs, siphons, tunnels etc. (Figure 6).

Figure 6

Figure 6 - Some of the graphical objects represented along the longitudinal profile of the water line.

In the "PROFILE" there is a set of icons that give access to some features, like table and chart results. Also available is a feature that allows, through a small graphical animation, analyze the water level changes, over the simulation time (Figure 7).

Figure 7

Figure 7 - Six frames obtained from the animation profile window.

In the "PLAN VIEW" the user has the possibility to know, for example, for each time selected, the estimated water depth value of a particular node or the water discharge flow for a particular reach (Figure 8).

Figure 8

Figure 8 - Tooltip providing information about the selected node/reach.

For the water quality data, the same tooltip can be used to know the pollutant concentration value of a choosen substance in each of the segments (reachs). Additionally it's used a color scale representation for each segment, according to their concentration value (blue for low values, red for high values).

Figure 9

Figure 9 - Tooltip providing information about the pollutant concentration on a segment.

The viewing scale of the plan view can be increased or decreased by the user. The user has also the ability to navigate and interact with the various graphic elements represented therein. It's possible, for example, activate the visualization of orthophotomaps or the administrative boundaries (Figure 10).

Figure 10

Figure 10 - Viewing the water line and the administrative boundaries.

The simulation parameters can be modified through a window that is accessible from the icon "Set definition parameters". In this window you can specify the starting date and duration of the simulations and the values for river flows at the most upstream open boundaries. That window also gives the access to the form for data time series related to hydraulic structures. It's possible to define a constant value for the entire simulation or a variable law over that period. The image of a dam (as well as images for other hydraulic structures) on the form gives access to a specific new form for setting the opening laws of the gates and orifices (Figure 11).


Figure 11 - Main form for definition of new simulations data (left) and interface to define data time series related to hydraulic structures (right).

The definition of the pollutant sources and their values is performed through a selection map on which the user can define the pollutant concentrations and discharges.

Completed the previous steps, the user can execute the model with these new parameters, pressing the "Run" button, located at the bottom of the main window. This operation can only be executed if the user has privileges to this (granted by the site administrator). The model will be performed on background (on the server) and the time necessary to have the simulation results available it will depend on the simulation length that has been defined by the user as well as other non-temporal parameter (water levels, discharges flow, opening laws for controlled hydraulic structures and pollutant sources).

Main features of this tool:

  • graphical view of the water lines in profile and plan view;
  • query results in table and chart format;
  • individual query for each water line;
  • viewing animations associated with dynamic simulations;
  • the execution of the model can be performed remotely;
  • automatic generation of reports;
  • combination of hydrodynamic and water quality results.


The two-dimensional models for reservoirs were implemented to characterize the patterns of water circulation and analyze some problems from water quality (mainly related to accidental discharges in the main affluents of the reservoirs).

Figure 12 shows the main view of the web interface for two-dimensional models. The plan view is a representation of a finite element grid, where you can view the mean values of scalar fields (hydrodynamic or water quality simulation results) and vector fields (velocity in the case of hydrodynamic simulations).

Figure 12

Figure 12 - General aspect of the web interface for two-dimensional models.

You can see the results in chart or table format for each of the nodal points of the finite element grid, used in the spatial discretization of the model. In addition, there's also the possibility of analyzing results according alignments previously defined, either for each of the simulated instants or through an animation that covers the whole simulated time interval (Figure 13).


Figure 13 - Reservoir modelling - profile view.

The plan view allows the representation of scalar fields (free-board, velocity modulus, water depth, ...), representation of vector fields (velocity, ...) and viewing the results on each element of the grid (Figure 14).

Figure 14

Figure 14 - Reservoir modelling: information about an element.

As already mentioned before, in the plan view may not only be represented scalar fields but also vectors fields, or even a combination of both, as shown in the figure below.

Figure 15

Figure 15 - Reservoir modelling: representation of scalar and vector fields.

In this web interface are also included some features that allows you to establish new values (constant or variable) for the boundary conditions of the model, allowing remotely activate their execution.


The water balance models allow characterizing the temporal variation of the water volume (and through the characteristic curves of each of the reservoirs, the water level and superficial area) being known the inputs and outputs in each of the reservoirs over a given period of analysis.

In these interfaces are available a lot of information, such as the water level of the reservoirs registered in the monitoring station, the precipitation and evaporation values in the nearest meteorological stations and several values of water discharges.

The next picture illustrates a prototype of this kind of interfaces.

Figure 16

Figure 16 - Interface for water balance models for reservoirs.

The application has features that allows the query of results throughout the simulation period in chart or table format. This interface also provides a different way to analyze the results - through a simple animation you can analyze the variation of water level in the reservoir throughout time (Figure 17).

Figure 17

Figure 17 - Water balance models for reservoirs: water level animation.

In the plan view, in addition to the buttons that provide access to some of the features mentioned before, there are still text boxes with associated values, showing the values verified for the selected instant time. In the right side section of the interface is graphically illustrated the water level in the reservoir for the selected instant time. There's also information about the volume and flooded area.

There's also the possibility to automatically generate a report about the simulation, containing all the considered data sets (precipitation, evaporation, water flows...) and its results (table or chart format).

Figure 18

Figure 18 - Water balance models for reservoirs: reports.

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