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Environmental Modelling & Software 40 (2013) 214e225

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Environmental Modelling & Software

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/envsoft

Comparison of generic simulation models for water resource systems

Andrea Sulis*, Giovanni M. Sechi
Hydraulic Sector, Land Engineering Department, University of Cagliari, 09123 Cagliari, Italy

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: In water resource systems that frequently experience severe droughts, generic simulation models can
Received 12 December 2011 provide useful information for developing drought mitigation measures. This paper is about modeling in
Received in revised form practice rather than in theory. The emphasis is on the application of generic simulation models to
9 May 2012
a multi-reservoir and multi-use water system in Southern Italy where frequent droughts over the last
Accepted 7 September 2012
two decades have necessitated the use of temporary and unsustainable user-supply restrictions. In
Available online 10 November 2012
particular, AQUATOOL (Valencia Polytechnic University), MODSIM (Colorado State University), RIBASIM
(DELTARES), WARGI-SIM (University of Cagliari) and WEAP (Stockholm Environmental Institute) models
Decision support systems
are considered in a preliminary analysis, which considers series and parallel simple schemes and also
Water resources management evaluates the possibility of alternative plans and operating policies in complex real water system. Each
Simulation model has its own characteristics and uses different approaches to dene resources releases from
Optimization reservoirs and allocation to demand centers. The proposed model comparison and application does not
identify in detail all the features of each model, rather it provides insights as to how these generic
simulation models implement and evaluate different operating rules.
 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction simple screening models for guiding data collection activities to

more complex tools requiring high levels of expertise. These
Generic simulation models provide information and insight computer-based prediction models can be combined in a mixed
that can help improve water system management and planning optimizationesimulation approach to anticipate the occurrence
processes. In conditions of drought, simulation models provide an of drought considering different hydrological scenarios (Pallottino
efcient way to reproduce sourceedemand interactions and to et al., 2005; Sechi and Sulis, 2009). Despite the potential of using
predict the impacts of rule modications, over time and space. scenario optimization in the search for efcient alternatives, full
This helps set more appropriate drought mitigation measures. integration between simulation and optimization has not yet
Appropriate measures can mitigate the economic, social and been achieved, and real-world applications are frequently appli-
environmental impacts of drought. Currently, interventions are cations of generic simulation models.
largely crisis driven. There is an urgent need (Rossi et al., 2007; Despite the large number of simulation models available and
Sechi and Sulis, 2009) for more risk-based management the perceived value of those models with regard to inform water
approaches to drought planning. Determination of appropriate resource management authorities, there are many improvements
drought mitigation measures is becoming the primary goal in that could be made to the work of planners, managers, modelers
managing water systems that frequently experience severe and analysts in this important area (Assaf et al., 2008). Two
droughts. In this context, generic simulation models provide an decades ago, Loucks (1992) and Simonovic (1992) described the
efcient way to predict the effectiveness and efciency of alter- gap between theory and practice in water resources planning and
native mitigation measures. Frequently, generic simulation management, and still, models are often not adopted by the
models are the core of complex decision support systems (DSS). intended end users (McIntosh et al., 2011). All models produce
The DSS can assist at different levels of detail, ranging from simplied representations of real-world systems. What features
are incorporated into the model depend in part on what the
modelers believe is important. Improving the usefulness, as well
as establishing trust and credibility, is important if the models
* Corresponding author. Tel.: 39 0706755303; fax: 39 0706755310. are to be fully understood and accepted by the intended end
E-mail address: asulis@unica.it (A. Sulis). users.

1364-8152/$ e see front matter  2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
A. Sulis, G.M. Sechi / Environmental Modelling & Software 40 (2013) 214e225 215

This paper is about modeling in practice rather than in theory. operating policies. Operating policies in AQUATOOL, RIBASIM and
An extended state-of-the-art review on simulation and optimiza- WARGI-SIM are xed, whereas operating policies in MODSIM and
tion modeling approaches in reservoir system operation problems WEAP are dened as a combination of system states and hydrologic
is given by Rani and Moreira (2010). The main objective is to conditions. The most recent version of MODSIM is developed under
illustrate application performances of ve generic models for the MS .NET Framework that allows users to customize MODSIM for
simulating multi-reservoir and multi-use water resource systems: specialized operating rules without having to modify the original
AQUATOOL-SimWin (referred to as AQUATOOL in this paper) source code. While these generic simulation models vary with
(Valencia Polytechnic University) (Andreu et al., 1996), MODSIM regards to the type and details of the operating policies that they
(Colorado State University) (Labadie et al., 2000), RIBASIM (DEL- can reproduce, they all include the concepts of priorities and
TARES) (Delft Hydraulics, 2006), WARGI-SIM (University of preferences.
Cagliari) (Sechi and Sulis, 2009) and WEAP (Stockholm Environ- Each of the ve models has a built-in capacity for water quality
mental Institute) (SEI, 2005). Presented models have been applied modeling, but most water quality modeling components and
in the 2009 release version. algorithms are relatively simple compared to the state of the art in
These models are representative of simulation models used for water quality modeling. In addition to this capacity, MODSIM and
preliminary analysis of alternative plans and policies on water WEAP can be linked to a more detailed higher dimensional model
resources systems. These popular generic simulation models have (e.g., the US EPA QUAL2E modeling framework, Brown and
been implemented world-wide in a large number of water systems. Barnwell, 1987) to provide highly detailed and comprehensive
They incorporate most of the desirable attributes of a simulation modeling of water quantity and quality conditions in the system.
model. MODSIM and WEAP can also be linked with the MODFLOW model
After a short presentation and comparison of the main char- (Harbaugh et al., 2000), a three dimensional nite difference
acteristics and features of each simulation model, we emphasize groundwater model, to study how changes in groundwater levels
the application of these simulation models to single-purpose affect the overall system and vice versa. However, this tight
reservoirs in series and in parallel, as well as to a complex coupling between generic simulation models and MODFLOW is not
multi-reservoir and multi-use real water system in Southern Italy, an easy task because it requires an extensive calibration phase. In
where frequent droughts over the last two decades have neces- AQUATOOL, the user can choose among a spectrum of models to
sitated adoption of temporary and unsustainable user-supply represent groundwater realistically, ranging from a model of
restrictions. reservoir type to a distributed model of a heterogeneous aquifer of
irregular shape.

2. Model characteristics and comparison

3. Model features
The ve generic simulation models considered in this paper
were developed within interactive graphics-based interfaces by 3.1. AQUATOOL
public and private organizations. They are all designed to study
water related planning and management issues in water systems 3.1.1. Description
and to satisfy the needs of those at different levels of the planning AQUATOOL is a generalized DSS developed at the Universidad
and decision-making process (Assaf et al., 2008). Each model has Politcnica de Valencia (UPV), Valencia, Spain. The model was
its own special characteristics. However, a feature makes the designed for the operational management and planning stages of
main difference: AQUATOOL, MODSIM and WEAP apply optimi- decision-making in complex basins comprising multiple reservoirs,
zation methods on a single time-period of the simulation, and the aquifers and demand centers. Implemented within the Microsoft
results are used as an efcient mechanism for performing the Windows Environment, AQUATOOL has been coded in different
simulation of a single period of water allocation in the system, programming languages, such as C, Visual Basic and FORTRAN.
whereas RIBASIM and WARGI-SIM are simulation-only models
based on a more conventional if-then approach. Technically 3.1.2. Appropriate use
speaking, in MODSIM the ow allocation problem is modeled The DSS has been upgraded and expanded. It currently consists
using a minimum cost ow modeling approach in a simplied of several modules including a simulation module (SimWin),
way. In WEAP, a standard linear program is used to solve the a management module for a water resource system that considers
water allocation problem. This allows the model to consider more the risk of drought (SimRisk) and is based in SimWin, an optimi-
complex physical, hydrological, and institutional constraints than zation module with a monthly passage of time (OptiWin) that is
the min-cost ow approach. In AQUATOOL, the simulation and more detailed than SimWin, and a simulation module of ground-
management of the surface system are made simultaneously by water that uses the eigenvalues method (AquiVal) to simulate
solving a conservative ow network optimization problem and groundwater distribution. The simulation in SimWin is made on
trying to maximize several objectives. The application of a monthly basis, and it allows nonlinear processes, such as evapo-
simulation-only models, such as RIBASIM and WARGI-SIM, to ration and inltration, to be adequately shaped. SimWin distin-
complex water systems could enable lower performance system guishes ve types of oriented connections that allow the user to
indexes (e.g., vulnerability or reliability at user-dened water reproduce the losses of water, hydraulic connections between
supply levels). However, these simulation-only models can better nodes, reservoirs and aquifers and ow limitations based on
reproduce the operating policies used by water authorities in the elevation. The optimization of the ow network attempts to
resource management of real systems. minimize several target functions on reservoirs, demands and
There is a large variety of operating policies presented in the rivers subjected to the restrictions of mass conservation and to
literature. For single-reservoir systems, operating policies can physical capacities.
precisely dene how much water to release from the reservoir for
all possible combinations of hydrologic and reservoir storage 3.1.3. Training required
conditions. For multi-reservoir and multi-use systems supply To effectively use all of the SimWin features, a high skill level
preference and demand priority are frequently included in the and experience in resource modeling is required.
216 A. Sulis, G.M. Sechi / Environmental Modelling & Software 40 (2013) 214e225

3.1.4. Documentation assessed. RIBASIM provides xed operating rules based on target
Some documentation is available through the UPV website storage volumes and multiple zoning.
3.3.2. Appropriate use
3.1.5. Cost RIBASIM particularly address the hydrological and hydro-
The user should contact the UPV Group to inquire about the cost graphical description of the river-basins and links the hydrological
of a license. water inputs at various locations with the specic water-users in
the supply system. It allows the user to dene operating/planning
scenarios where each scenario is characterized by a particular
3.2. MODSIM operating rule and/or water supply projection.

3.2.1. Description 3.3.3. Training required

MODSIM is a generic system management DSS that was orig- While RIBASIM is intuitive and easy to use, it requires signicant
inally conceived in the late 1970s at Colorado State University data to perform detailed analysis.
(CSU), U.S., and has been continuously maintained. MODSIM was
developed in the .NET Framework that provides a powerful 3.3.4. Documentation
environment for customization without requiring recoding. Documentation can be obtained from DELTARES (http://www.
MODSIM simulates water allocation in the system at each time wldelft.nl/soft/ribasim).
step through a sequential solution of a network ow optimization
problem where nonlinearities (i.e., evaporation, groundwater 3.3.5. Cost
return ows, channel losses) are assessed using a successive Information on the license cost can be obtained from DELTARES
approximations solution procedure. The problem is solved with (http://www.wldelft.nl/soft/ribasim).
the Lagrangian relaxation algorithm, RELAX-IV (Bertsekas and
Tseng, 1994). Reservoir balancing routines that allow division of
reservoir storage into several operational zones can be used to
control the spatial distribution of available reservoir storage.
3.4.1. Description
Additionally, operating rules on reservoir regulation and demand
WARGI is a user-friendly tool specically developed to help
allocation can be conditioned based on user dened hydrologic
users understand the interrelationships between demands and
state variables.
resources for multi-reservoir water systems under drought condi-
tions, such as those that frequently occur in Mediterranean regions.
3.2.2. Appropriate use Since the mid-1990s, WARGI has been extended and new modules
MODSIM has been linked with MODFLOW for the analysis of have been developed by the Water Research Group (WRG) at the
conjunctive use of groundwater and surface resources, as well as to Department of Land Engineering, University of Cagliari, Italy. The
QUAL2E for assessing the effectiveness of pollution control strate- WARGI modeling capability includes several interrelated macro-
gies. MODSIM can be applied in an implicit stochastic optimization modules; the main ones are a simulation-only module (WARGI-
framework where optimal rules for integrated operation are ob- SIM), a deterministic optimization module (WARGI-OPT), the
tained using the generalized dynamic programming software reservoir quality optimization module (WARGI-QUAL), and
package, CSUDP. a module of scenario optimization (WARGI-SCEN). The water allo-
cation in WARGI-SIM is simulated using user-dened preferences
3.2.3. Training required and priorities. Additionally, the user can dene reserved volumes as
The use of the main module requires moderate training, a xed function of the period of the year, and the withdrawn water
whereas external modules are quite hard to use without prior from the reserved zone is decreased to satisfy user-selected high
modeling skills. priority demands.

3.2.4. Documentation 3.4.2. Appropriate use

Detailed documentation is available through the CSU website Improvements to the denition of drought mitigation measures
(http://modsim.engr.colostate.edu/). and effective linking of these measures with drought indicators are
achieved through a full integration of WARGI-SIM and WARGI-OPT.
3.2.5. Cost The requirement of massive simulation-optimization runs for the
MODSIM can be downloaded free through the CSU website. analysis of complex water system under drought conditions are
satised in a GRID environment.

3.3. RIBASIM 3.4.3. Training required

WARGI-SIM is a relatively simple model that enables non-
3.3.1. Description experts to understand the main issues and problems of complex
RIBASIM is a generic model package for simulating the behavior water systems.
of river basins under various hydrological conditions. It was
developed by DELTARES, formerly the DELFT Institute, Delft, The 3.4.4. Documentation
Netherlands. Different scenarios can be easily compared based on Requests for a detailed documentation can be addressed to the
user-dened objectives through the powerful graphical interface. authors.
The analysis of water demand is extensive (i.e., based on demo-
graphic, economic, crop water requirements aspects), and the 3.4.5. Cost
current and future demands at different horizons can be compared. Requests for a non-commercial license can be addressed to the
Crop production and crop damage due to water shortages can be authors.
A. Sulis, G.M. Sechi / Environmental Modelling & Software 40 (2013) 214e225 217

3.5. WEAP 4. Comparison of application to single-purpose reservoirs in

series and in parallel
3.5.1. Description
WEAP is a generic simulation model developed at the Stockholm In multipurpose multi-reservoir systems there are sometimes
Environment Institute, Boston, Massachusetts. WEAP model conicting and sometimes complementary multiple purposes
simulations are constructed as a set of scenarios with different served by the water stored in and released from reservoirs. Oper-
simulation time steps. These demand scenarios are applied deter- ating policies dene what should be performed for any combina-
ministically to a linear programming allocation algorithm where tion of system states and hydrologic conditions to minimize any
each demand and source is assigned a user-dened priority. The necessary deviation from ideal conditions in those systems.
linear program solves the water allocation problem by trying to Common operating rules for single-purpose reservoirs in series and
maximize satisfaction of demand subject to supply preferences and in parallel can be derived from principles of mathematical opti-
demand priorities while using reservoir operating policies to mization and can be supported by system manager experiences.
minimize the distance to ideal conditions. The water allocation Multipurpose multi-reservoir systems can be seen as an aggrega-
problem is solved at each time step using an iterative, computa- tion of reservoirs in series and in parallel (in Fig. 1 indicated with (a)
tionally expensive approach. Traditional target storage levels, and (b), respectively). Many of the operating rules for multipurpose
multiple zones, and reduced releases by a buffer coefcient are systems require combinations of operating rules for single-purpose
implemented in WEAP. Supply balancing within demand centers reservoirs in series and in parallel. This is not always the case
with the same priority is assured by that approach. A groundwater (Needham, 1998). Nevertheless, the operation of single-purpose
module in WEAP allows for water transfer between the stream and reservoirs in series and in parallel is classic in the literature. In
the aquifer. addition, it is remarkably easier to analyze generic simulation
model results using reservoirs in series and/or parallel schemes.
3.5.2. Appropriate use The primary reviews of operating rules are Sheer (1986), Loucks
The model integrates some physical hydrological processes with and Sigvaldason (1982), and Lund and Guzman (1999). For reser-
the management of demands and infrastructure to allow for voirs in series providing water supply, a reasonable objective is to
multiple scenario analyses, including alternative climate scenarios maximize the amount of the water available and the resulting rule
and changing anthropogenic stressors. The primary aim of the is to deplete the downstream reservoir before the upstream
water management analysis in WEAP is the analysis of water reservoir is used to meet downstream demands (Sheer, 1986). A
demand conguration. conceptual rule for reservoirs in parallel involves drawing in
tandem from each reservoir in a manner that equalizes the prob-
3.5.3. Training required ability of reservoir lling for each reservoir (Loucks and
WEAP requires signicant data and a moderate amount of Sigvaldason, 1982). This procedure ensures the minimization of
experience for a detailed analysis. expected water wastage.
According to Loucks and Sigvaldason (1982), operating rules for
3.5.4. Documentation reservoirs in series and in parallel may include one or more of the
Detailed documentation is available online at the SEI website following components:
1. Target storage levels or volumes;
3.5.5. Cost 2. Multiple zoning; and
The cost of WEAP is US $1000 for universities and governments. 3. Conditional rule curves.

Fig. 1. Congurations of reservoirs in series and in parallel.

218 A. Sulis, G.M. Sechi / Environmental Modelling & Software 40 (2013) 214e225

When a prescription of the desired storage volumes or levels in preference (MODSIM, RIBASIM and WEAP), transfer cost (AQUA-
each reservoir is introduced in the system operation, reservoir TOOL) or weight (WARGI-SIM).
operators are expected to maintain these levels as closely as Reservoirs in parallel, P1 and P2, had the same priority for
possible while generally trying to satisfy downstream demands. lling and no additional components of the operating rule were
Multiple zoning denes ve storage allocation zones in the total adopted. Although WARGI-SIM uses a traditional simulation
reservoir capacity: the conservation zone (from which requests are algorithm and WEAP uses a linear optimization module to allocate
normally satised), the ood control zone (for storing large unex- water in the system, both models correctly reproduced the oper-
pected inows), the spill zone (associated with actual ood ating rule by drawing in tandem from each reservoir. As expected,
damage), the buffer zone (beneath the conservation zone used to WARGI-SIM and WEAP minimize the spilled water (1.86 106 m3/
satisfy only high priority water demands during dry periods) and month in Table 2), which is the same as maximizing the amount of
the inactive zone (the dead zone where withdrawals may not be water available. Fig. 2a and b show that AQUATOOL, MODSIM and
possible). The conditional rule curve denes reservoir releases as RIBASIM discharge water from reservoir P1 rst. This reservoir
a function of the existing storage volumes and the expected natural was arbitrarily selected among two reservoirs, having the same
inows for some future months. The well-known SQ type linear priority. In particular, P2 is the reservoir with the larger potential
decision rule, originally proposed by Loucks (1970), as applied to inow per unit storage volume capacity. Unnecessary spilling
reservoir j at time step t is as follows: occurs in this reservoir (17%). In MODSIM, releases from the
reservoir in the system follow the order of insertion of arcs
tm outgoing the reservoir nodes. To release in tandem from reservoir
Rj;t aj;t Vj;t bj;t Ij;i cj;t (1) P1 and P2, the multiple zoning component was applied to the
it operating rule. Specically, in MODSIM, the total capacity in each
reservoir must be divided into many subzones (100 in our appli-
where Rj,t is the release from the reservoir, Vj,t is the stored volume cation) so that water was discharged from reservoir P2 only in the
in the reservoir, Ij,i is the expected natural inow during the month i case of having the storage level of reservoir P1 within the same
within the estimating (m  1) month periods, and aj,t, bj,t and cj,t are subzone. On the other hand, AQUATOOL and RIBASIM dened
coefcient to be assessed. Bhaskar and Whitlatch (1980) tested three allocation zones (conservation, buffer and inactive zones)
linear and nonlinear monthly operating rules by regressing the within the total capacity of reservoir P1 and P2. As expected, the
series of releases with reservoir storage at the beginning of each storage volume time series and total unnecessary spilling simu-
month and inow at the current month. They found that the linear lated by MODSIM are very close to the time series provided by
operating rules are as good as or better than the more complex WARGI-SIM and WEAP, whereas the probabilities of reservoir
rules in many cases. lling for reservoir P1 and P2 remain signicantly different in
All the examined simulation models permit the denition of AQUATOOL and RIBASIM.
monthly target storage levels or volumes and multiple zones, For reservoirs in series, the upstream reservoir S1 has a higher
eventually further dividing each zone into a user-dened number priority of lling than the downstream reservoir S2. No additional
of subzones (e.g., in MODSIM), through tables and gures. Only components of the operating rule were adopted. As shown in
three models (MODSIM, WARGI-SIM and WEAP) implement Fig. 3, AQUATOOL, MODSIM, WARGI-SIM and WEAP exactly
conditional rules, including the SQ type linear decision rule (1). In reproduced the common operating rule for such systems and S2
particular, WEAP uses trial-and-error iterative procedures, which was depleted before the water in S1 was discharged to meet the
can be time consuming and problematic, or ofine multiple downstream urban demand, whereas RIBASIM considers the
regression models to assess the aj,t, bj,t and cj,t coefcients of (1). As downstream reservoir S2 as a demand to be supplied by the
an alternative to this simulation-only approach, MODSIM uses the upstream reservoir S1.
generalized dynamic programming software CSUDP (Labadie,
2003) and WARGI-SIM uses the linear programming module
WARGI-OPT (Sechi and Sulis, 2009) that can be applied in a GRID 5. Comparison of applications to a multi-reservoir and
computing environment (Sulis, 2009). multipurpose water system
Models were applied to single-purpose reservoirs in series and
in parallel over a 52-year time horizon with a monthly time step. To verify the potential for using generic simulation models to
Fig. 1 shows the two types of system congurations. The main dene drought mitigation measures, the Agri-Sinni water system
reservoir variables are shown in Table 1. In both congurations, (Southern Italy) was considered (Fig. 4). The Agri-Sinni is a multi-
reservoirs 1 and 2 have a total capacity of 260 and 320 106 m3, reservoir and multipurpose system located in the Basilicata
respectively. Statistical parameters show that the hydrological region. It supplies water to the Puglia and Calabria regions as well.
inputs to the reservoirs were selected to be signicantly different The main reservoirs in the system are Monte Cotugno (capacity of
to highlight the adequacy of adopted operating rules. The initial 556 106 m3) and Pertusillo (capacity of 159 106 m3) along the Sinni
reservoir volume was equal to half of the total capacity in both and the Agri rivers, respectively. Marsico Nuovo and Cogliandrino
reservoirs. An urban water demand with an annual request of are single purpose reservoirs (for irrigation and hydroelectric use,
115.7 106 m3 and a uniform monthly program was modeled. The respectively) with small total capacities. ENEL, the largest Italian
demand site was connected to the reservoirs with the same supply power company, has the authority to manage the Cogliandrino

Table 1
Reservoir data input.

Reservoir Mean inow Maximum inow Minimum inow Initial volume Maximum capacity
(106 m3/year) (106 m3/year) (106 m3/year) (106 m3) (106 m3)
1 126.5 318.6 24.1 131 260
2 15.9 53.6 1.7 160 320
A. Sulis, G.M. Sechi / Environmental Modelling & Software 40 (2013) 214e225 219

Table 2 Demand nodes in the graph, which were common to all

Monthly mean volume of spilling for reservoirs in parallel. simulation models, represent aggregations of several homoge-
AQUATOOL, MODSIM WARGI-SIM nous urban, industrial or agricultural water requests. The allo-
and RIBASIM and WEAP cation order to follow when supplying those demands was
Spilling (106 m3/month) 2.17 1.86 based on the assignment of a decreasing priority Pi (increasing
the priority number) to urban (P1 1), industrial (P2 2) and
agricultural (P3 3) demands. While in AQUATOOL all demand
nodes connected with sources were supplied by those sources,
reservoir exclusively for hydropower production. The reservoir is MODSIM, RIBASIM, WARGI-SIM and WEAP required that each
operated independently. Four intake structures (Agri, Sarmento, demand node had a hierarchical list of sources from which
Sauro, and Gannano) were constructed on the main rivers for water a supply ow could be activated. These lists of sources and
diversion. priorities for lling reservoirs were established according to the
Based on the observed monthly inows at Monte Cotugno and information provided by the system water agency. This system
Pertusillo over the period of 1983e2005, the inows in other conguration was set up in an Italian National Project (PRIN:
sections of interest in the basin were generated using the distrib- Decision Support Model in complex system management under
uted runoff model DREAM (Manfreda et al., 2005). The inow series shortage conditions).
accurately reproduced the severe water scarcities in the Agri-Sinni
system that occurred in the years 1989e1990 and 2001e2002. 5.1. Model applications to the basic system conguration
Table 3 shows the main statistical properties of the inow series.
Urban (Lucano Aqueduct and AQP in Fig. 4), industrial (ILVA), and In a rst application of the simulation models, the conservation
agricultural (C.B.) demands are 295.8 106 m3/yr, 12.6 106 m3/yr, and and inactive zones were dened in the reservoirs while no further
240 106 m3/yr, respectively. components of reservoir operating rules were introduced. The

Fig. 2. Storage volume time series for reservoirs in parallel.

220 A. Sulis, G.M. Sechi / Environmental Modelling & Software 40 (2013) 214e225

Fig. 3. Storage volume time series for reservoirs in series.

results of the rst phase simulation help us highlight heavy Fig. 6 shows the simulated time series of monthly spilling at
restrictions operated during shortages and the resulting benets of Monte Cotugno and Gannano. WARGI-SIM and WEAP provided
management rules that will be introduced in the following similar results with the exception of Monte Cotugno reservoir
paragraph. lling condition (Fig. 7). The occurrence of high ows and ood
The release time series simulated by the ve models for the events highlight the use of different techniques for reproducing
Monte Cotugno reservoir (Fig. 5) present similar trends, and they operating rules for reservoir lling. Specically:
closely reproduce the historical values. In particular, all models
simulated the severe restriction of total releases that occurred 1. The simulation-alone algorithm in WARGI-SIM requires a xed
during the most serious drought in years 2001e2002 when releases list of reservoirs (i.e., Monte Cotugno) for each source (i.e., Agri,
were reduced by 55%, with a small exception of RIBASIM that gave Sauro and Gannano) that can operatively receive the unused
a higher reduction of 16% with respect to the historical value. resources in all reservoir conditions;
Table 4 shows the mean annual volume of spilling from the system 2. The optimization model in WEAP has considerable exibility
evaluated as the sum of spilling from the Monte Cotugno reservoir for deciding whether incoming withdraw resources at the Agri
and the available resources not diverted at the Gannano intake. As and Sauro intake structures should be released downstream.
reported in Table 4, the annual mean of spilling is minimized by
WARGI-SIM and WEAP, whose values are very close, whereas Consequently, after having supplied the C.B. Bradano and
higher values were obtained by AQUATOOL (3.9%), and, more Metaponto irrigation demand, the WARGI-SIM and WEAP models
signicantly, by MODSIM (7.4%) and RIBASIM (8.6%). The results use different strategies to transfer exceeding resources. The
previously described for simple systems in series and parallel could simulation-alone algorithm in WARGI-SIM transfers further
partially explain these differences; nevertheless, a more in-depth available resources from the Gannano intake structure to the
analysis of diversion utilization and spilling resulting from Monte Cotugno reservoir even when the Monte Cotugno reservoir
WARGI-SIM and WEAP was needed. is in a lling condition. The optimization model in WEAP releases
A. Sulis, G.M. Sechi / Environmental Modelling & Software 40 (2013) 214e225 221

Fig. 4. The Agri-Sinni water system in the WARGI-SIM graphical interface (satellite images courtesy of Google Earth).

downstream the Gannano structure the available resource at a predened demand level l (l 1.0, l 0.75 and l 0.5) of the
Monte Cotugno lling condition. aggregated water demand Dt,i. The time series of monthly simu-
In this study, the water system performance evaluation anal- lated values of supplies for each aggregated use, Xt,i, had its own
ysis in the form rst suggested by Hashimoto et al. (1982) and range of satisfactory, Sl,i, and unsatisfactory, Ul,i, values for each
recently revised by Sandoval-Solis et al. (2011) was used to threshold demand Dt,l,i l$Dt,i:
compare the supply performances of the models. Selected criteria
can capture the main differences of how generic simulation
models work more than system-oriented criteria that could if Xt;i  Dt;l;i then Xt;i Sl;i and Zt;l;i 1
describe the behavior of the system in depth but, in some cases, else Xt;i Ul;i and Zt;l;i 0
not offering interesting data to compare those models. The
performance criteria, CP,l,i were dened for the aggregated water The Nt periods of successive unsatisfactory Xt,i for the criterion
use i (i 1,2,3 related to urban, industrial and agricultural uses, (2) were then evaluated in the total time length, T, and reliability
respectively) when unsatisfactory values were unable to provide and vulnerability indices were dened as:

t1 Zt;l;i
Reliability : CR;l;i (3)
Table 3
Statistical indexes of inows in the period 1983e2005. 8 9
> Dt;l;i  Xt;i >
Stations Mean Stand. Dev. Max Min >
<X >
(106 m3/year) (106 m3/year) (106 m3/year) (106 m3/year) Dt;i
Vulnerability : CV;l;i max (4)
Pertusillo 212.15 57.72 328.54 118.25 >
> Nt >
: tT >
Monte Cotugno 277.60 106.61 494.14 118.45
Cogliandrino 89.76 32.12 147.13 33.95
Marsico Nuovo 7.82 3.04 12.91 2.53
Gannano 105.54 88.56 389.03 11.72 Reliability and vulnerability were calculated in the 1983e2005
Agri 115.54 64.43 241.55 17.92 simulation period (T 264 months). As expected, the RIBASIM
Sauro 50.46 25.50 101.31 11.93 model, using allocation rules based only on a hierarchical order of
Sarmento 84.10 38.79 162.06 26.42
demand priorities, obtained higher vulnerabilities to those
222 A. Sulis, G.M. Sechi / Environmental Modelling & Software 40 (2013) 214e225



Supply [10 m ]














Fig. 5. Simulated and historical releases from Monte Cotugno reservoir in the period 1993e2004.

demands with lower priorities (Table 5). The absence of any assured only by introducing a really high number (i.e.: 100) of
reservoir release rule determined CV,1.0,3 (irrigation vulnerability) multiple subzones in the conservation storage zones of Monte
higher than other uses in all model simulations. The urban Cotugno and Pertusillo reservoirs.
vulnerability values CV,1.0,1 obtained by models having a network Reliability was then briey assessed from WARGI-SIM and
ow optimization algorithm engine (MODSIM and AQUATOOL) WEAP results. Table 6 shows that urban reliability values CR,1.0,1 and
were the same. These values were very close to the results of CR,0.75,1 were lower than industrial values CR,1.0,2 and CR,0.75,2 for
WARGI-SIM, which uses a simulation-alone algorithm for repro- WARGI-SIM and WEAP results. This was unexpected given the
ducing allocation rules based on priorities and preferences, ranging priorities attached to the demand sites. This is because the ILVA
from 0.42 to 0.46. WEAP using a linear programming model gave industrial demand could be supplied by several sources of the Agri-
a higher vulnerability value (CV,1.0,1 0.54), which was signicantly Sinni, whereas one of the urban demands (AQP) has only the Per-
lower than RIBASIM (CV,1.0,1 0.78). tusillo reservoir as source. As expected, reliability values for urban
Despite the similarities in the vulnerability values, CV,1.0,i of CR,1.0,1 and CR,0.75,1 and industrial CR,1.0,2 and CR,0.75,2 in WARGI-SIM
AQUATOOL, MODSIM and WARGI-SIM, those models used different were lower than in WEAP and equal or higher for CR,0.5,i. This
techniques for reproducing allocation rules in the Agri-Sinni comparison shows that WARGI-SIM reduced the risk and cost of
system. Specically: large shortages, at a cost of more frequent small shortages
compared to WEAP that uses a linear objective function weighted
1. The management optimization of surface water in the system on decit costs. Finally, reliability values for agricultural use CR,l,3
was made once every month in MODSIM and AQUATOOL. were equal in WARGI-SIM and WEAP for all l levels, the agricultural
Decit costs in the objective function were calculated from demands being supplied after demands with higher priorities
demand priorities (P1 1, P2 2 and P3 3); (Pi < 3).
2. In WARGI-SIM, the simulation process allocates the available
resources by rst considering only urban demands (P1 1),
then the ILVA industrial demand (P2 2) and nally irrigation 5.2. Second model application
demands (P3 3), following the hierarchical order of demand
priorities. No operating rules were implemented in the rst generic
application of the simulation models; therefore all models repro-
MODSIM supplied the different demands having the same duced the unsustainable condition of urban use during the two
priority from each reservoir zone simply by following the order of severe drought events in the Agri-Sinni system (1988e1990 and
node insertion in the system graph, and an equitably share of water 2001e2002). The results highlight that these two 2-year droughts
shortage among those demands during drought events was then accounted for more than 80% of the total water shortage over the
total simulation period. A second application of the models intro-
duced operating rules to reduce the scarcity impacts. According to
the system water agency, the objective was to minimize the urban
Table 4 and industrial vulnerabilities with respect to a single month (T 1
Annual mean volume of spilling. in (4)) and the entire demand level (l 1):
Water loss (106 m3/year)
AQUATOOL 93.99 8 9
>Dt;l;i  Xt;i >
MODSIM 97.22 >
< >
RIBASIM 98.26 Dt;i
WARGI-SIM 90.49 CVT 1;1;i max (5)
> Nt >
WEAP 90.69 >
: >
Fig. 6. Simulated spilling volumes at the Monte Cotugno reservoir (a) and Gannano intake structure (b).




[10 m ]



Oct-83 Oct-86 Oct-89 Oct-92 Oct-95 Oct-98 Oct-01 Oct-04

Fig. 7. Simulated storage volumes at Monte Cotugno reservoir.

224 A. Sulis, G.M. Sechi / Environmental Modelling & Software 40 (2013) 214e225

Table 5 a restriction coefcient for the agricultural use and a target

Vulnerability values for different uses. volume of half of the conservation volume in both reservoirs as
CV,1.0,1 CV,1.0,2 CV,1.0,3 a trigger for the restriction rule;
AQUATOOL 0.42 0.67 0.98 2. In WARGI-SIM when the storage volume in a reservoir (Per-
MODSIM 0.42 0.67 0.98 tusillo or Monte Cotugno) was within a reserved volume that
RIBASIM 0.78 1.00 0.81 was equal to half of the conservation volume, releases were
WARGI-SIM 0.46 0.70 1.00
decreased to supply only the urban demands and the ILVA
WEAP 0.54 0.80 1.00
industrial demand;
3. In MODSIM and WEAP, a conditional rule curve was introduced
that dened reservoir releases from Monte Cotugno and Per-
Table 6 tusillo as a function of existing storage volume (WEAP), and
Monthly reliability for different uses in WARGI-SIM and WEAP.
a function of existing storage volume and inow into the
Urban Industrial Agricultural reservoir (MODSIM), when the storage volume was within the
WARGI-SIM WEAP WARGI-SIM WEAP WARGI-SIM WEAP buffer volume, which was equal to half of the conservation
CR,1.0,i 91.67 92.05 94.70 96.21 90.53 90.53 zone. The coefcients of these linear functions for each reser-
CR,0.75,i 94.32 95.08 95.08 96.21 91.67 91.67 voir were obtained using a trial-and-error procedure.
CR,0.5,i 97.73 97.73 95.45 96.21 93.56 93.56
In some cases, procedures were extremely sensitive and
computationally expensive. Table 7 summarizes results for
A hedging rule was introduced in all software to reduce agri- CV(T 1),1.0,i values. In these results, only WARGI-SIM minimized
cultural releases to save water for higher priority uses in the both urban and industrial demands, whereas the hedging rule in
following periods. Each simulation model has its own way to RIBASIM and WEAP did not reduce signicantly the urban and
reproduce this reservoir operating rule at Pertusillo and Monte industrial vulnerabilities. AQUATOOL and MODSIM could only save
Cotugno. Briey: water for urban demands. In particular, AQUATOOL, MODSIM,
RIBASIM and WEAP showed CV(T 1),1.0,2 higher than 0.85. It should
1. In AQUATOOL and RIBASIM at each arc entering in a demand be noted that the total releases in AQUATOOL, MODSIM and WEAP
node we associated a monthly alarm indicator containing were reduced and the reduced supplies were allocated to the
demands according to their priorities; in other words, the proce-
dure did not allow for water saving to decrease CV(T 1),1.0,2. Finally,
Table 7
the application of the proposed hedging rule in RIBASIM did not
Vulnerabilities values at single month for different uses, considering the reservoir efciently restrict supply to agricultural uses and CV(T 1),1.0,3 was
hedging rules. signicantly lower than that obtained using other simulation
models (CV(T 1),1.0,3 0.79).
1),1.0,1 1),1.0,2 1),1.0,3
Fig. 8 shows the simulated time series of monthly storage
AQUATOOL 0.16 1.00 1.00
MODSIM 0.12 1.00 0.98 volumes at Monte Cotugno when releases were temporarily
RIBASIM 0.57 1.00 0.79 decreased by the hedging rule during the severe drought events. As
WARGI-SIM 0.28 0.00 1.00 expected, the time series of all models are close with signicant
WEAP 0.39 0.85 0.91
exceptions during drought events in 1988e1990, 1992e1993 and




[10 m ]



Oct-83 Oct-86 Oct-89 Oct-92 Oct-95 Oct-98 Oct-01 Oct-04

Fig. 8. Simulated storage volumes at Monte Cotugno reservoir operated through a hedging rule.
A. Sulis, G.M. Sechi / Environmental Modelling & Software 40 (2013) 214e225 225

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