river and surrounding flood meadows, reservoir and dam, water skier, flooded houses, river barge, salmon jumping upstream, farm irrigation system

The Center for Advanced Decision Support for Water and Environmental Systems (CADSWES) is a research center in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering. It was founded in 1986 to research and develop decision support systems (DSS) that are used by government agencies and others to improve the management of finite natural resources, particularly water. Funded primarily by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, CADSWES has developed DSS tools that are now widely used to provide a foundation for long-term resource planning that supports water conservation, ecosystem health and balanced natural resource management.

CADSWES research focuses on modeling of multiobjective water resource systems, improved short- and long-term forecasting under hydrologic variability, operating policy analysis and negotiations, climate change adaptation and hydropower optimization. The center’s research and development emphasis also includes a strong platform for graduate student education—building the next generation of sustainability-focused natural resource researchers and practitioners. CADSWES's decision support technologies, including the widely adopted RiverWare river system modeling tool, are supported by regular training and user group meetings for water resource professionals.

CADSWES endeavors to contribute significantly to improved sustainability and management of our natural systems by:

  • Working closely with resource management agencies to understand and respond to decision support needs as those needs arise.
  • Pursuing strategic research to advance the science of sustainable and integrated water resources management.
  • Applying powerful and appropriate information technologies to advance the results of research to useful decision support tools.
  • Serving as a university center for education and collaboration among researchers, agencies, faculty and students in the development and application of the DSS tools and the issues and methods of sustainable resource management.
  • Maintaining, supporting and teaching about the use of the decision support tools to facilitate improved resource management by government agencies and others.