Advanced Hydraulic Modeling Software Provides HDR a Gateway to Success


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HDR specializes in engineering, architecture, environmental and construction services. Most well-known for adding beauty and structure to communities through high-performance buildings and smart infrastructure, and creating an unshakable foundation for progress for scientists, economists, builders, analysts, and artists.

Better Together, a Plan for Integration

HDR worked to support Omaha's MUD (Metropolitan Utilities District), which provides water and gas service to roughly 600,000 residents in Omaha, Nebraska. As an organization that prides itself on supporting high-performing infrastructure for communities, HDR helped MUD prepare its GIS database for incorporation into an advanced hydraulic modeling system. Using the software solution Infowater Pro, an "all pipes" model was developed, tested, and calibrated. HDR and MUD encountered data challenges, calibration processes, and lessons learned as they pursued the goal of a reliable and sustainable hydraulic model.

Struggles with GIS Database Reconciliation

HDR dealt with quite a few challenges when helping MUD set up a clean and complete GIS database (a critical requirement) for a complete hydraulic modeling tool. The most significant challenges were:

  • They had two large, closed pressure zones within the total 11 zones listed
  • They had no existing full system hydraulic model
  • Their last master plan was completed more than 20 years ago and hadn't been developed recently
  • MUD's data had been converted to GIS from MicroStation CAD

They had always done modeling in chunks, little bits and pieces. No model, no master plan, so [this was] a really unique opportunity to help them get moving in the right

Scott F. Humphrey, PE GISP for HDR

A Gateway to Success

As they began, HDR became aware that MUD had a GIS database built from the MicroStation CAD conversion. However, CAD proved to have too many difficulties within their system and they are now currently transition to ArcGIS Pro. The project seemed overwhelming at first, with such a large distribution system, but with each effort they learned something new.

"So, what we decided to do," explained Humphrey. "In InfoWater Pro was use the GIS Gateway where you can actually build this GIS Exchange Cluster, where we have some type of ID or [location] where we pump pipe junctions, pump tanks, and valves. And then the nice thing about the GIS Gateway is then you can take this a step further and start to map from there, [input]the GIS database into the model database."

"As we get more pump information, more pump tests, more facilities, then we can really improve the model [even further] and the GIS Gateway really helps us do that," boasted Humphrey. It becomes easier to refine the model with InfoWater Pro's GIS Gateway due to the Gateway functionality, making the process more of a synchronization and less of an import/export hassle.

It's true.

InfoWater Pro allows you to take full advantage of GIS data. With this software solution being built as an extension of ArcGIS Pro, users always have full access to Esri tools and GIS data. This state-of-the-art technology provides a comprehensive geospatial environment for network model construction, graphical editing, hydraulic simulation, results presentation, and map generation – including 3D map displays

The C Factor

After that, it was time to calibrate the model. InfoWater Pro has a multitude of robust capabilities, including the InfoWater Pro Calibrator. The calibrator makes it simple to exchange data and integrate it with existing network models and GIS systems. Using it, you can determine geographical demand allocation to ensure the credibility of your network model.

HDR used the InfoWater Pro Calibrator to adjust C Factors, which they used to determine the roughness of the pipes within the system. "We had to take a different approach, [due to the] geographic scope of the model," Humphrey explained. "So, what we ended up doing with calibration groups is we had our typical age and material, which was pretty well-populated in [MUD's] GIS, and then we split out distribution and transmission. So, we have a transmission calibration group that were assigning different C Factors for transmission systems than we did for the distribution system."

HDR had to do this because the transmission C Factors were affecting the entire zone, while distribution was only affecting some. So, these two C Factors couldn't be processed the same way. In the complex process of calibration, InfoWater Pro enabled HDR with better understanding to manage this large water distribution network.

“It’s just more efficient.”

Scott F. Humphrey, PE, GISP for HDR

Thinking Ahead

Finally, HDR spent extra time validating a few versions of the model until they were satisfied with its accuracy and completeness. The team felt it displayed the data properly, the way they needed. When they completed the newest version of the model, they were able to confidently start work on MUD's formal Water Master Plan. "We pointed [MUD] into the direction of 'you should really be focusing on these pumps as a priority," said Humphrey of the master plan.

InfoWater Pro is the perfect software solution for modelers looking to accurately represent future master-planning scenarios. It enables you to simulate your planning efforts, and to develop a master plan that works for your time and budget limitations.