Aquarius: A Modeling System for River Basin Water Allocation

Aquarius is a software application developed by the Rocky Mountain Research Station of the U.S Forest Service and Colorado State University. The modeling system depicts the temporal and spatial allocation of water flows among competing traditional and nontraditional water uses in a river basin. The program can be used to determine economically efficient water destination strategies by systematically examining, using a nonlinear optimization technique, the feasibility of reallocating unused or marginally valuable water storage and releases in favor of alternative uses.

Aquarius is an analysis framework rather than a single dedicated model for water allocation. Aquarius supports the following water uses (system components):

  • Storage reservoir
  • Hydropower plants
  • Agricultural water use
  • Municipal and industrial water use
  • Instream recreation water use
  • Reservoir recreation water use
  • Fish habitat protection
  • Flood control area

Although the present version of the model implements only a monthly time step, Aquarius was conceived to simulate the allocation of water using any time interval, including days, weeks, months, and time intervals of nonuniform lengths.


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Authors or Affiliated Users:

  • Gustavo E. Diaz
  • Thomas C. Brown
  • Oli Sveinsson

Related Organizations:


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Mapping tool
  • Modeling tool


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