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The mission of CADSWES is closely tied to the development of leading edge decision support tools that integrate innovations in hydrology, water resources management, modeling, and climate sciences with state-of-the-art software. We have been developing decision support tools for use by resource managers for over 25 years. Our current set of tools are centered on RiverWare, a river and reservoir/hydropower planning and management tool that is licensed by the University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office, and widely used by agencies and consultants.
RiverWare’s capability to simulate river systems with alternative operating policies of unlimited subtlety and complexity, and its automatic multiple run management to quantify risk and uncertainty generated by stochastic hydrology, have made it a tool of choice for planning studies such as environmental impact studies. The Graphical Policy Analysis Tool (GPAT) was developed as an Excel add-on to allow convenient statistical post-processing of the output of the many simulations generated in this type of study. GPAT is tailored to RiverWare’s output and can provide many types of statistical analysis; it is especially useful for comparing different policy alternatives.
Recently planning studies have begun to tackle the challenge of climate change – they endeavor to envelop future conditions and explore how river systems can be managed under possible future uncertain and more variable conditions. Studies that explore possible future hydrologic conditions along with a range of options and strategies for coping with these conditions – e.g., infrastructure changes, alternative operating policies, water conservation – are complicated and can produce massive amounts of output data. A new suite of software, the RiverWare Study Manager and Research Tool (RiverSMART) has been developed to facilitate these types of studies in which many scenarios are simulated using alternative hydrologic scenarios, demand projections, operating policies and infrastructure representations. These tools were used by Reclamation in the Colorado River Supply and Demand Study. As part of this suite of tools, the Hydrology Simulator generates ensembles of hydrology using recently scientific advances in nonparametric simulation based on the historic record, paleo reconstructed hydrology downscaled climate change projections. Another tool recently developed, the Demand Input Tool (DIT) allow easy generation of alternative demand scenarios and automated import of these into RiverWare simulations.