Neumann D. and E. Zagona (2016). “Decision Support Systems on the Upper Rio Grande Basin using RiverWare,” Canadian Water Resources Association 69th National Conference, May 25-27, 2016, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


An interagency team of state and federal water managers in the upper Rio Grande basin in Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas use decision support systems developed in RiverWare to help make decisions on planning and operating the system.  These tools help reduces the vulnerability of the system to floods and droughts by providing information, identifying issues, and analyzing the impacts of the operations on meeting the system objectives.  Termed the Upper Rio Grande Water Operations Model (URGWOM), the system of simulation, rulebased, and accounting modules track native water and imported trans-basin diversion water to fulfill compact deliveries, international treaty obligations, water rights, recreation objectives, and environmental flow concerns. Included are algorithms that simulate the  groundwater and surface water interaction and track water quality, particularly total dissolved solids.  The model can be used in multiple modes as follows. In after-the-fact accounting mode, water managers track the water ownership and type of water throughout the basin. In the short term forecasting and scheduling mode, the team runs the model with suites of forecasted inflows, demands and operating objectives to develop an annual operating plan that includes probabilistic information. In the long term planning mode, the modules are run at daily or monthly timesteps with alternative hydrologic scenarios, demands, operating policies, or facilities. This mode is used to analyze the environmental impacts of proposed alternatives. This paper describes the suite of tools and how they are used to reduce the susceptibility of the system to extreme events by providing timely and relevant information to water managers.