WMS (hydrology software)

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WMS icon.png
Developer(s) Aquaveo
Stable release
10.0 / September 16, 2015
Operating system Windows
Type Surface-water hydrology software
License Proprietary
Website http://www.aquaveo.com/wms

WMS (Watershed Modeling System) is a complete program for developing watershed computer simulations. WMS supports lumped parameter, regression, and 2D hydrologic modeling of watersheds, and can be used to model both water quantity and water quality. It also supports river hydraulic and storm drain models. Currently supported models include HEC-1, HEC-RAS, HEC-HMS, TR-20, TR-55, NFF, Rational, MODRAT, HSPF, CE-QUAL-W2, GSSHA, SMPDBK, and other models.


WMS was initially developed by the Engineering Computer Graphics Laboratory at Brigham Young University in the early 1990s on Unix workstations. The development of WMS was funded primarily by The United States Army Corps of Engineers. It was later ported to Windows platforms in the mid 1990s. WMS 6.0 (2002) was the last supported version for HP-UX, IRIX, OSF/1, and Solaris platforms. Development of WMS was done by the Environmental Modeling Research Laboratory (EMRL) at Brigham Young University until April, 2007. At this time, the main software development team at EMRL entered private enterprise as Aquaveo, LLC.

The planners of the 2002 Winter Olympics, held in Salt Lake City, Utah, used the Watershed Modeling System (WMS) software to simulate terrorist attacks on water infrastructure such as the Jordanelle Reservoir.[1]

Examples of WMS Implementation[edit]

  • This article features “a new framework which integrates the Geographic Information System (GIS) with the Watershed Modeling System (WMS) for flood modeling is developed” (Sadrolashrafi, p. 149). The study focuses on the severe flash flooding that occurs commonly in the Dez River Basin in Khuzestan province, IRAN, focusing on “a major flood in autumn of 2001.” Using the WMS software, two models were created: “a rainfall-runoff model (HEC-1) that converts excess precipitation to overland flow and channel runoff” and “a hydraulic model (HEC-RAS) that simulates steady state flow through the river channel network based on the HEC-1, peak hydrographs.” Ultimately, “The modeling framework presented in this study demonstrates the accuracy and usefulness of the WMS software for flash flooding control.” [2]
  • According to the article, “WMS includes powerful tools to automate modeling processes such as automated basin delineation, geometric parameter calculations, GIS overlay computations including curve numbers (CN), rainfall depth, roughness coefficients, etc., and cross-section extraction from terrain data” (Edsel, et al., 42). Specifically, “WMS provides an interface for a variety of hydrologic and hydraulic models within a GIS-based processing framework.” Moreover, “Typical applications involve use of the sub-models within WMS with the overarching system used for pre- and post-processing of information.” [3]
  • This article focuses on how “systematic planning for groundwater exploration using modern techniques is essential for the proper utilization, protection and management” of groundwater resources in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt (Hossam and Qaddah, 613). Along with several other models, WMS was used to identify the groundwater potential areas in the Sinai Peninsula.” As noted in the article, “the validity of this unbiased GIS-based model was tested by correlating its results with the published hydrogeological map of Egypt and the actual borehole yields, where a concordant justification was reached.”[4]
  • This article delves into “the need for spatial and temporal land-cover change detection at a larger scale” (Mustafa, et al., 16). “The digital contour map for the study area was processed through the Watershed Modeling System (WMS 7.0) software. …To generate flow direction, flow accumulation and stream network, a custom version of the TOPAZ model distributed with WMS was used.” (Mustafa, et al., 24). Notably, “The model can be run for any future land development plans to investigate the hydrological impacts in order to avoid the shortage of irrigation water and mitigate the risk of floods occurrence” (Mustafa, et al., 16).[5]
  • This work focuses on the water shortages in Iraq, which will most likely worsen in the coming years. Rainwater harvesting is considered a possible solution. “A watershed modeling system (WMS) and linear programming (LP) optimization techniques were applied to maximize the irrigated area” (Al-Ansari, et al., 1607). As a result, “This technique proved to be efficient for solving large-scale water supply problems with multiple parameters and constraints, including the required input data for the model.” [6]


  1. ^ Chai, Nathan K. (Fall 2002). "Modeling the World's Waters". BYU Magazine. Archived from the original on 25 February 2016. Retrieved 25 February 2016. 
  2. ^ Sadrolashrafi, S.S.; et al. (2008). "Integrated Modeling for Flood Hazard Mapping Using Watershed Modeling System.". American Journal of Engineering and Applied Science. 1: 149–156. doi:10.3844/ajeassp.2008.149.156. 
  3. ^ Edsel, B.D.; et al. (2011). "Watershed Modeling and its Applications: A State-of-the-Art Review" (PDF). The Open Hydrology Journal. 5: 26–50. 
  4. ^ Hossam, H.E.; Qaddah, A.A. (May 2011). "Groundwater potentiality mapping in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt, using remote sensing and GIS-watershed-based modeling". Hydrogeology Journal. 19 (3): 613–628. doi:10.1007/s10040-011-0703-8. 
  5. ^ Mustafa, Y.M.; et al. (Fall 2012). "Evaluation of Land Development Impact on a tropical Watershed Hydrology Using Remote Sensing and GIS". Journal of Spatial Hydrology. 5 (2): 16–30. 
  6. ^ Al-Ansari, N.; et al. (Dec 2013). "Water Harvesting and Reservoir Optimization in Selected Areas of South Sinjar Mountain, Iraq". Journal of Hydrologic Engineering. 18 (12): 1607–1616. doi:10.1061/(asce)he.1943-5584.0000712. 

Additional References[edit]

  • Nelson, E.J.; Jones, N.L.; Miller, A.W. (1994). "An algorithm for precise drainage basin delineation". ASCE Journal of Hydraulic Engineering. 120 (3): 298–312. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9429(1994)120:3(298). 
  • Smemoe, C.M.; Nelson, E.J.; Zundel, A.K.; Miller, A.W. (2007). "Demonstrating Floodplain Uncertainty Using Flood Probability Maps". Journal of the American Water Resources Association. 43: 359–371. doi:10.1111/j.1752-1688.2007.00028.x. 

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