Government Technology

California Water Resources Uses CalLite Risk Simulation



March 24, 2009 By

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is using risk simulation to evaluate and demonstrate how different water management policies affect the water supply, environment and other factors.

In 2007 the DWR and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation developed CalLite, a simulation model for the water management of California's Central Valley. It simulates reservoir operations, operations of the California State Water Project and the Central Valley Project, water-delivery decisions, ecosystems and the California Central Valley's hydrology.

In just five minutes, CalLite simulates water conditions in the Central Valley over a span of 82 years. The user can change the program to demonstrate water management actions, like utilizing off-stream storage reservoirs, enacting groundwater management programs and adding new conveyance facilities.

Water Resources Department Utilizes CalLite

Stakeholders and the public can download CalLite from the DWR's Web site. The front-facing program allows stakeholders to see how decisions affect the Central Valley. Environmentalists, contractors and regulatory boards use the program.

The DWR used GoldSim, a graphical, dynamic simulation program, to develop CalLite. Nazrul Islam, senior engineer of the DWR, said the program's main benefit is that it shows visually how a decision might impact water resources.

"We have a very detailed and complex model that only a small group of people in California can use and interpret the results. The results from that model are very difficult to extract and you need a very skilled and knowledgeable person to do that," Islam said. "On the other hand, CalLite is user-friendly. People can select a couple of options from the graphical user interface of our model, and then run the model and get the results very easily."

Self-education was a driving factor behind CalLite. "We developed this tool for stakeholders to aid them in learning about our system interactions," Islam said. "With this simplified model they can educate themselves and interpret results that we give them from the detailed and complex model."

The DWR creates strategy plans based on the interactive sessions. "CalLite was developed to screen out alternatives easily and quickly. In a particular application, we had many -- approximately 40 -- alternatives from stakeholders and water-resources planners, and from those alternatives we have narrowed it down to six alternatives," Islam said.

Simulating Uncertainty

According to Rick Kossik, principal of GoldSim Technology Group, the program is a good match for organizations like the DWR because it tracks a complex system that's surrounded by uncertainty. For example, it's uncertain what the rainfall levels in 2010 will be; however, GoldSim takes that into account and tells the DWR what the rainfall level will most likely be. "The outputs that these models produce -- they don't say the answer is seven. They say the answer is somewhere between three and 10 and the most likely value is 7.5," Kossik said.

He said there are three main benefits of GoldSim: It deals with uncertainty; it shows the information in a diagram, so there's a picture of the system that's being modeled; and it can represent changes in time. The pictures of the models are represented as flow charts, which allow users to see how one variable changes another.

"It doesn't force people to look at equations; it says, 'Here's the relationship between parts of a system,'" Kossik said. "In a water-resource system, you would have pictures on the screen that represent different reservoirs and you might have a picture that represents a pipeline and arrows show that water flows from this reservoir, through this pipeline to this reservoir. No equations, you just see at the top level what the system looks like."


| More

Comments

Add Your Comment

You are solely responsible for the content of your comments. We reserve the right to remove comments that are considered profane, vulgar, obscene, factually inaccurate, off-topic, or considered a personal attack.

In Our Library

White Papers | Exclusives Reports | Webinar Archives | Best Practices and Case Studies
Maintain Your IT Budget with Consistent Compliance Practices
Between the demands of meeting federal IT compliance mandates, increasing cybersecurity threats, and ever-shrinking budgets, it’s not uncommon for routine maintenance tasks to slip among state and local government IT departments. If it’s been months, or even only days, since you have maintained your systems, your agency may not be prepared for a compliance audit—and that could have severe financial consequences. Regardless of your mission, consistent systems keep your data secure, your age
Best Practice Guide for Cloud and As-A-Service Procurements
While technology service options for government continue to evolve, procurement processes and policies have remained firmly rooted in practices that are no longer effective. This guide, built upon the collaborative work of state and local government and industry executives, outlines and explains the changes needed for more flexible and agile procurement processes.
Fresh Ideas In Online Security for Public Safety Organizations
Lesley Carhart, Senior Information Security Specialist at Motorola Solutions, knows that online and computer security are more challenging than ever. Personal smartphones, removable devices like USB storage drives, and social media have a significant impact on security. In “Fresh Ideas in Online Security for Public Safely Organizations,” Lesley provides recommendations to improve your online security against threats from social networks, removable devices, weak passwords and digital photos.
View All

Featured Papers