Decision Support for Colorado River Operations

by Terrance J. Fulp, US Bureau of Reclamation,
David M. Theobald, US Bureau of Reclamation,
Bruce Williams, US Bureau of Reclamation,
Brad Vickers, US Bureau of Reclamation,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Waterpower '91: A New View of Hydro Resources


The United States Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) uses a simulation model known as the 24-month Study Model for planning monthly and seasonal operations for the Colorado River Basin. The model has a long history of development and use and, therefore, has become quite institutionalized. Unfortunately, the model has run only in a 'batch mode' on a large mainframe computer at Reclamation's Denver office, limiting access to the few experts trained in its operation. To enhance the model's decision support capabilities, it has been ported to a desktop workstation and a graphics-based interface has been developed. By utilizing a multi-tasking operating system, the interface provides the functionality to interactively display and edit input data, run the model, and analyze the results in a seamless environment. Data is shared between Reclamation's two regional offices (the Lower and Upper Colorado Regions) through a wide-area computer network. This allows both regions to effectively coordinate the planning for the entire basin. The model can now be directly accessed by the planning managers as the detailed knowledge of the input and output data structures is embedded within the interface. A further benefit is that the system can be used to explain operational and policy decisions to other technical and managerial personnel.

Subject Headings: Simulation models | Decision support systems | Rivers and streams | Bureau of Reclamation | Hydrologic models | Water reclamation | Water resources | Systems management | United States | Colorado River | Colorado | Denver

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