State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2008OK105B
Title: Decision Support Model for Evaluating Alternative Water Supply Infrastructure Scenarios
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2008
End Date: 2/28/2009
Congressional District: 3
Focus Categories: Management and Planning, Water Supply, Water Quantity
Keywords: Decision Support, Regionalization, Planning, Modeling
Principal Investigators: Whitacre, Brian (Oklahoma State University); Sanders, Dee Ann (); Stoecker, Arthur (Oklahoma State University)
Federal Funds: $ 24,939
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 49,498
Abstract: Rural water systems often struggle to make decisions regarding their future, particularly when those decisions involve upgrading their infrastructure or consolidating / cooperating with other systems. The overall objective of this project is to develop a step-by-step methodology that provides assistance to rural water systems for planning and updating their water supply infrastructure. While each water system faces its own unique set of challenges, the project would create a process that allows for assessment of the future of the system's infrastructure and consider different avenues for funding potential enhancements. This process will include:

  1. Discussions with system manager and community to understand the current system and potential future needs
  2. A list (and sources) of data requirements for modeling possible upgrades, such as census block level population changes, future industry growth, terrain maps with elevation changes, and road networks
  3. A methodology for analyzing the existing distribution system (on free software such as EPANET)
  4. Estimating capital and operating costs for alternative treatment systems
  5. Assistance with estimates of finance costs and discussion of ways to finance upgrades (including identification of various loan / grant sources and steps / data needed to apply for those loans / grants).

Specific objectives will be to develop and document a methodology for completing each of the above 5 steps. This methodology can then be replicated in other water districts.

The process will generally begin by visiting a cooperating rural water district and interviewing the manager and community. Documentation for this step will include a list of pertinent questions to ask. The next step will be to construct a geo-dataset of the pipeline service area. A list of necessary data would be developed, including the current pipeline layout, census block level population and industry data, elevation changes, and road networks. Typical sources for this data (usually available over the Internet or from the OWRB) would be documented by the project team. The water district would supply additional data on monthly water use, operating costs, and system design information. Pipeline location and elevation information would be verified with GPS readings at key points, where water pressure readings would also be taken. A basic Water Cad simulation model would then be developed using this information. The model would allow for analysis of the system's capacity for population and industry growth, and can be converted to a free EPANET file for systems wanting to maintain their own computer model. Once alternative infrastructure systems have been identified, the project leaders would provide a methodology for estimating the capital and operating costs associated with any necessary pipelines, storage, or treatment systems. Methods for financing these costs, including grants and loans available at both the state and federal level, will be reviewed; and data requirements / steps for various grant and loan submissions will be summarized.

Progress/Completion Report, 2008, PDF
Final Report, 2009, PDF

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