CO River arial viewThe Department of Interior’s WaterSMART program seeks to secure and stretch water supplies to benefit future generations and identify adaptive measures to address climate change. Under WaterSMART, basin studies are comprehensive water studies to explore options for meeting projected imbalances in water supply and demand in specific basins. Such studies could be most beneficial with application of recent scientific advances in climate projections, stochastic simulation, operational modeling and robust decision making, as well as computational techniques to organize and analyze many alternatives.

RiverSMART (RiverWare Study Manager and Research Tool) is an integrated set of tools and techniques to facilitate these studies. It includes the following components:

  • Future supply scenarios are produced by the Hydrology Simulator.
  • Alternative demand scenarios can be produced with the Demand Input Tool (DIT), an Excel-based tool that allows modifying future demands by groups such as states, sectors (for example, agriculture, municipal, energy) and hydrologic basins.
  • Postprocessing statistical analyses of the outputs are possible using the Graphical Policy Analysis Tool or other statistical packages, including R.

The overarching Study Manager provides a graphical tool to create combinations of future supply scenarios, demand scenarios, infrastructure and operating policy alternatives; each scenario is executed as an ensemble of RiverWare runs driven by the hydrologic supply. Different model files can represent infrastructure alternatives and different policy sets represent alternative operating policies, including options for noticing when conditions point to unacceptable vulnerabilities, which trigger dynamically executing changes in operations or other options. The Study Manager sets up and manages multiple executions on multicore hardware. The outputs are typically model variable outputs or postprocessed indicators of performance. Several basin studies undertaken have used RiverWare to evaluate future scenarios.

The Colorado River Basin Study, the most complex and extensive to date, has taken advantage of these tools and techniques to generate supply scenarios, produce alternative demand scenarios and set up and execute the many combinations of supplies, demands, policies and infrastructure alternatives.