Spreadsheet Model Development for the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin

by Brenda P. Allen, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water Resources Planning and Management and Urban Water Resources


In the beginning, water resources personnel scratched out their estimates of how different reservoir operations or system configurations would affect a river using pencil and paper. Many of these computations were easily carried out in tabular form, but were still time consuming and tedious. The advent of computers brought some relief as predictions could now be made more quickly, and the numbers generated were at least more exact, if not more accurate. However, the logic involved in the models developed were often obscured by the 'black box' methods employed in the Fortran programming format. The proliferation of personal computers and spreadsheet software has finally succeeded in bringing our computational methods full circle. The Mobile District Corps of Engineers has developed a spreadsheet model of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin which has been used to emulate the decision making process identified in the Water Control Plan adopted for the basin. The model was not intended to be a prescriptive model of desired real-time releases and was originally designed to operate on a monthly time scale. The model can be divided into three major components: the minimum release, the navigation augmentation, and the end-of-month conditions summary components. For each step, each project is evaluated twice before deciding its final monthly release. The first time the projects are reviewed in downstream order to determine minimum hydropower, water supply/water quality or excess releases from the projects. After comparing these releases at the most downstream point to certain target flows, another loop of the projects is performed to include additional waters needed from each project to meet the desired flows downstream.

Subject Headings: Spreadsheets | Hydrologic models | Rivers and streams | Basins | Hydro power | Water quality | Water resources | Scale models

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