American Society of Civil Engineers

Institutional Dimensions of River/Reservoir System Modeling: Lessons from Implementation of the Texas Water Availability Modeling System

by Ralph A. Wurbs, F.ASCE, (Professor, Zachry Department of Civil Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, 77843 E-mail:
Section: Planning and Management Council, pp. 2673-2682, (doi:

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2010: Challenges of Change
Abstract: The Texas Water Availability Modeling (WAM) System consists of the generalized Water Rights Analysis Package (WRAP) river/reservoir system simulation modeling system developed at Texas A&M University, which may be applied anywhere in the world, and WRAP input datasets for all of the river basins of Texas. The WAM system was implemented by the Texas Commission on Water Quality (TCEQ) and its partner agencies and contractors pursuant to water management legislation enacted by the Texas Legislature as its 1997 Senate Bill 1. The WAM System is routinely applied in regional and statewide planning studies mandated by the 1997 Senate Bill 1 and administration of the water rights permit system. The generalized WRAP modeling system continues to be expanded to address a broadening range of applications with major new capabilities being released during 2010. The WAM datasets are periodically updated with new or revised water right permits and refinements in modeling capabilities. The modeling system is significantly contributing to improving water management in Texas. Lessons learned from development and application of the Texas WAM System demonstrate the importance of the following two institutional dimensions of water availability modeling. (1) Modeling water rights, contractual agreements, treaties, interstate compacts, and other complex institutional aspects of water resources development, management, allocation, and use may be a key consideration in developing and applying a modeling system. (2) Effective implementation of a modeling system may require a partnership effort of an entire water management community that includes political officials, the state legislature, water users, government agencies, consulting firms, and university researchers.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Rivers and streams
Water management