Simulating Pump Transients through InfoSurge

Power outage and Pump trips cause the pump operation changes. Power outage is the most severe case for pump transient events. There are two ways to simulate pump operations within InfoSurge.

1- Pump Speed Change with creating speed ratio curves is the easiest way to simulate the pump operation change. The Pump Operation Change Data window is accessed by selecting a pump and selecting the Pump Operation Change   button in the Attribute Browser. This function is used to describe the pump/turbine operational changes during transient analysis.  A turbine is represented by the pump element with turbine-specific parameters in a surge model. A wicket gate can be specified for the turbine element to simulate the transients due to wicket gate changes. Continue reading

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    Atlas 14 Temporals for XPSWMM

    Back in January, we introduced the capabilities of XPSWMM that allows a modeler the ability to perform an ensemble-based critical duration analysis using the NOAA Atlas 14 Temporal Distributions. As the NRCS, formerly the Soil Conservation Service (SCS), retires the legacy rainfall distributions (Type I, IA, II, and Type III) and replaces with more location specific distributions, the question shifts toward is there a better distribution to consider over a standard nested intensity storm.

    The NOAA Atlas 14 rainfall depths are pretty well known. The temporals that NOAA published are not as well known.  How might one incorporate the temporals into an analysis with XPSWMM? There are two methods and we explore these below.

    The standard method to leverage the Atlas 14 temporal is the simplest yet time-consuming. It’s a copy and paste method between the application and the downloaded data from the NOAA Website. Download the Temporal distribution table data from the Temporals site for the Atlas 14 Volume, Region, and  Duration needed. The file (typically a CSV) is composed of four quartiles plus an all cases as a cumulative percent of depth.

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      With Expansive Product Offering, Innovyze Maintains Commitment to Customer Success

      To help mark the one-year anniversary of XP Solutions and Innovyze joining forces, we sat down with VP of Product Management Greg Kowalsky to discuss the Innovyze approach to product development as well as to gain some insight into the future trajectory of Innovyze solutions.

      QUESTION: What problems are we trying to solve? Not from an engineering or mathematical standpoint, but from a human standpoint?

      Greg Kowalsky, VP of Product Management

      KOWALSKY: First and foremost, we’re trying to help our utility and consulting clients serve their communities. There is a cost optimization component where we want our products to help provide higher quality of service so clients can stretch a dollar farther. There is also a health and safety component that includes forecasting and predictive recommendations so that we can help them be prepared when adverse events occur.

      QUESTION: How does the Innovyze product team approach product development?

      KOWALSKY: We are proactively pushing functionality forward and we want to be more user-centric. Our goal is to understand the work our clients are trying to get done, so we consistently solicit their feedback to solve the challenges they face and strive to meet their needs. Continue reading

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        Predictive Flood Modeling: a Course for the Future

        In a recent keynote speech at Wharton’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (IGEL), Innovyze CEO Colby Manwaring took the stage to address the current state of flood modeling techniques. The story? We can do better. Wet weather is becoming more unpredictable and the impacts are being felt by our communities. Municipalities, engineering consultants, and government agencies cannot continue to operate with outdated flood models that are plagued by inaccurate or incomplete data. If they do, residents and businesses are left vulnerable to flood risks and costs, compromising the integrity of local governments.

        Where We Come from Determines Where We Are

        The presentation began with a call to re-evaluate current flood modeling methods: “We need to consider our frame of reference if we are going to get to a solution, we need to consider our assumptions on where we are.”, Colby stated. Once we realize where we come from, we can plot a course for the future.

        Colby goes on to explain that what we currently know about flood forecasting, mapping, and modeling originated in the 1970’s. During this period, the foundation was laid for data collection systems and computing that was later used to shape flood modeling approaches.

        These methods were eventually codified and legislated in the developed world based on key data points extracted from weather patterns. The result was a reliance on risk assessments based on 100-year return intervals of flooding (probably from most people thinking “I won’t be here in 100 years, so I’m safe”). In an elementary sense, risk assessment was framed as: How likely is an area to flood throughout a 100-year time frame: once? 15 times? 40 times? This framework for risk assessment is relatable to most people, regulators and the public alike, but somewhere along the way the understanding was lost that a “100-year flood” is just a way of saying that every year there is a 1% chance of this flood occurring.  Probability this year is not affected by last year’s events, nor by future events – so we can have “100-year floods” anytime.

        Flood mapping based on this framework was, inevitably, misunderstood and flawed. Weather and rainfall input data was spread out, disjointed, and often assumed because it is hard to predict and codify. The inaccuracies in rainfall data contributed to the assumptions made for the overall model, which led to the need for tweaking of output data.

        Flood maps based on 100-year risk assessments emerged as a binary, or “single truth”, basis for flood insurance, infrastructure planning, and risk mitigation. Businesses and residents were either in or out of the floodplain, and insurance costs were­­ calculated accordingly. In reality, flood emergencies do not occur in an “in vs. out”, binary manner. They are more fluid than that – they are graduated events that we are trying to quantify with probabilistic methods – so floods don’t stop at some imaginary floodplain line.

        What Happens when the Map is Wrong?

        In 2012, Hurricane Sandy ravaged the US east coast and the Caribbean. Hundreds of thousands of housing units were destroyed and billions of dollars were spent in reconstruction efforts for infrastructure, homes, and businesses.

        In his first major address following the disastrous storm, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg compared the FEMA 100-year flood maps to the actual flooding caused by the storm. According to the former mayor “two-thirds of all homes damaged by Sandy [were] outside of FEMA’s existing 100-year flood maps.”

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          InfoWorks ICM 9.0 Release

          InfoWorks ICM 9.0 has now been released and is available for download from the Innovyze website under:

          The What’s New which goes with the installer has a complete breakdown of the new features which have been included, some of those features have been explored further and demonstrated in part with examples below.

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            A neat Ruby script to delete all scenarios other than the base network

            Within InfoWorks ICM, scenarios are a useful way of creating options, testing different network configurations and undertaking sensitivity analysis. However, once created and no longer needed, there is no easy way to delete them en masse. It is possible to delete them one by one using the ‘Manage Scenarios’ tool and it is also possible to write an SQL which deletes a list of multiple pre-defined scenarios.  Both of these approaches are time consuming.

            There is a quicker, neater way of deleting all scenarios other than the base network by using Ruby Scripting within the user interface.  The ruby script will take the form of the below text:-


            net.scenarios do |s|

                            if s!=’Base’




            The script is written in Ruby language within a text editor and needs to be saved as a file with extension type .rb.  Once this is created, you can open the network of choice and go to Network->Run Ruby Script and navigate to the location of the Ruby script.  This will then run the Ruby Script.  Once run, the Ruby script will appear within the list of recent scripts.  The Ruby script can also be associated with a custom action.

            Ruby Scripting can be used within the user interface to manipulate data within the network, within the Open Data Import/Export Centres to filter and adjust import fields and also with ICM Exchange, the InfoWorks ICM API.  For more information on the Ruby scripting, particularly scripts that can be run within the InfoWorks ICM user interface then please contact the support team at


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              The Future of Wastewater Management Planning

              As capacity requirements change and grow, it is essential to have agility when modeling system expansions and their potential impacts on current collections assets. How can wastewater management systems be modeled to address all current and future hydraulic capacity needs? Innovyze’s InfoSewer and InfoSWMM can help users keep track of current collection system performance and model expansions. Users can build an accurate digital representation of collections assets to ensure system longevity and smart allocation of capital resources. The result? A Sewer Master Plan that is complete, can confidently model for future conditions and growth, and can lead to lower costs and better residential rate affordability.

              How Mature is your Wastewater Management Plan?

              At Innovyze, we believe that collections asset models can operate at the following stages:

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                Simplifying the input of Culvert Inlet Parameters with SQL Prompts in InfoWorks ICM

                The use of the SQL functionality is subject to a large number of blog posts within our blog pages.  This is because they allow the user to avoid repetitive tasks and automate processes.  One of the SQL functionality which is well described is the use of Prompts with the following blog posts providing more details and examples:-

                These allow prompt dialogs to be displayed which prompt for user input as part of the SQL query.  As shown in the latter of the above links, these can be very useful when creating model networks.  One part of building models which can be quite tedious is adding culvert inlets, specifically determining the correct parameters (K,M,c,Y,Ki) for the specific culvert inlet type (as identified in the ‘Culvert Inlets’ help page) from the tables taking from the Culvert Design Manual (1997).  I find myself flicking backwards and forwards between the software and the help page.

                Figure 1: Culvert Inlet Parameters

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                  ReFH2 Rainfall and Runoff in InfoWorks ICM/ICMLive

                  In 2016, the Centre of Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) and Wallingford HydroSolutions (WHS) released another version of the revitalised rainfall-runoff model (ReFH2) which allows users to generate flood peak flows and hydrographs from given rainfall events for both catchment and development sites.  For a full description of the approaches, the reader is referred to their document which can be freely accessed at:-


                  There are 2 components to the ReFH 2 model.  The first is a new runoff volume and routing model, ReFH2, which was added to InfoWorks ICM in version 6.5.  The second component is the FEH 2013 generated design rainfall which was added in version 7.5.  This blog post will go on to describe the implementation of both components within InfoWorks ICM/ICMLive and how users can use these to generate rainfall events and runoff within these software packages.

                  The first point to note, is that the equations used to generate FEH2013 rainfall and ReFH2 runoff are proprietary and have not been published publicly.  Therefore, unlike the previous FEH and ReFH approaches, it has not been possible to code these equations directly into the InfoWorks ICM/ICMLive simulation engines.  The user therefore requires a copy of the ReFH2 software with a licence obtained from Wallingford HydroSolutions (WHS).  The ReFH2 software must be available when the FEH2013 rainfall is generated and the relevant calculations are undertaken for determining the parameters for the subcatchments ReFH2 runoff.  However, once the rainfall and runoff parameters have been determined, InfoWorks ICM/ICMLive simulations do not need access to the ReFH2 software and runs can be distributed onto other machines/servers as is desired.

                  FEH2013 Rainfall

                  Like all rainfall the FEH2013 generated rainfall is created by using a Rainfall Event Editor.  In the list of available rainfall models the appropriate FEH2013 Rainfall generator should be selected.

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                    Continuous Simulation: Make Stormwater Assets Great Again

                    More than twenty years ago I wrote a Master’s Thesis about software tools that could be put together with EPA SWMM to create a toolbox for very long term continuous simulation for stormwater and watershed simulations.  I was inspired at the time by Dr. William James who was my advisor for that research.  At that time typical stormwater design and modeling (analysis) employed the rational method or a regional design storm approach.  Continuous simulation was not typically used even though we had such computational capabilities for about 20 years.

                    Fast forward to today and there is still too much use of the Rational method and design storms.  Perhaps they have their place in sizing a culvert based on conveyance or some onsite detention in the case of a design storm.  However, there is simply too much misuse since these methods ignore the physical processes that are occurring.  It is simply not appropriate to use such a method to design stormwater systems when storage is a significant component of the system or when there is sensitive downstream receiving waters to name just a couple cases.  The rational method produces a peak flow and using that flow value in design ignores the natural attenuation that would occur to storage effects in the system and can even result in under design. Continue reading

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