Miel Solutions LLC

Plan or perish: Integrated long-term water supply modeling for El Paso, Texas

By - Miori
02/11/2022 11:13 AM

Abstract from my talk at the 2017 American Water Works Association Conference

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Uncertainty in future supply and demand as well as the associated financial impacts led El Paso Water Utilities-Public Service Board (EPWU) to develop an integrated Water Resources Planning Tool (iWRPT). Recent drought and operational changes to surface water allocation coupled with an understanding of the uncertainty of future supplies, drove home the need for a comprehensive long-term analysis. Given the interconnected relationship of current and future water resources, integrated management tools are needed to achieve balanced long-term performance. 

To meet this objective, CH2M worked with EPWU to develop a dynamic simulation model of EPWU water resources that includes supply, demand, and financial components. The EPWU supply portfolio includes surface and groundwater supplies, each constrained by a variety of permit conditions and other limitations. 

In addition, EPWU sought to evaluate potential future water-management alternatives such as conservation, as well as future potential sources such as importation. The model allows the user to combine various supply and demand management options into “portfolios” allowing comparison and evaluation of an array of options. Future water demands can be examined through variation of population trends, efficiency, and customer class categories by geography. 

These options allow the user to explore different customer profiles and behaviors, and how those may affect demand (and supply) in the future. Cost and revenue functions were developed and integrated into the model so that alternatives can be considered on an equal basis. For example, for a given supply and demand scenario cost and revenue loss due to a conservation scenario can be compared directly to say, expansion of desalination facilities. 

The dynamic simulation model resulting from this process provides a robust planning tool for EPWU to evaluate plausible future scenarios and their relative effects as well as examine more near-term supplies.

For more talks like these, visit https://www.awwa.org/

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