Water Quality Modeling Tools

A key component to holistic watershed master planning and stormwater management is the identification and implementation of best management practices (BMPs) and low-impact development (LID) strategies to address urban runoff pollution.  Until now, the selection of BMP and LID strategies has been limited to qualitative planning, hindering the planners’ ability to discern effective BMP/ LID practices without long-term monitoring. Consequently, the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) lead the development of several innovative water quality modeling tools to allow quantitative water quality master planning and BMP/LID prioritization for three major watersheds in the San Antonio River Basin. The SARA project earned a Gold Medal in the 2016 American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Texas Engineering Excellence Awards, and an ACEC National Recognition Award.

SARA Water Quality Modeling Standards

In 2013, SARA authored the Water Quality Modeling Standards document, which details guidelines on the development, calibration/validation, linkage, and applications of water quality models.  The SARA document is the first of its kind to help ensure the quality and consistency of all developed water quality models within the San Antonio River Basin.

SARA Load Reduction Tool

The SARA Load Reduction Tool enables users to determine the constituent load reductions necessary to reach WQ standards or screening levels that may be achievable through the application of BMPs/LIDs. The SARA Load Reduction Tool automatically determines load reduction needed for all subbasins within a watershed for each constituent to meet user-specified WQ constituent concentrations.

SARA Enhanced BMP Tool

The SARA BMP Processor compiles individual BMP/LID unit-cost and effectiveness information to assess potential incentives for implementing BMPs/LIDs. The SARA Enhanced BMP Tool determines the optimal combinations that would minimize the BMP/LID costs while achieving the needed load reduction. The SARA Enhanced BMP Tool includes a comprehensive BMP Tool Database, compiling available BMP/LID data and the application of engineering economic analyses to convert the collected data to annual costs for equal-footing comparison and optimization. The SARA Enhanced BMP Tool uses the EPA SUSTAINOPT as its core engine. The optimal results from SUSTAINOPT are then fed back into the HSPF model to verify the preferred load reductions are met.

SARA Timeseries Utility

The SARA Timeseries Utility Tool supports the analysis and management of time-varying environmental data including listing, graphing, numerical processing, statistics generation, computing meteorological data, and saving in a WDM or text file.

SARA Water Quality Modeling Tools Disclaimer

The suite of Water Quality (WQ) Modeling Tools developed by the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) includes the WQ Modeling Standards, The Timeseries Utility Tool (TUT), The Load Reduction Tool (LRT), The Enhanced Best Management Practices (BMP) Tool and associated BMP Tool Database,  the Simulation Manager, and the BMP Processor/Reporter Tool.  These tools are provided as a courtesy by the San Antonio River Authority, in order to help SARA stakeholders and the general communities better evaluate WQ conditions and select/evaluate BMPs and Low Impact Development (LID).  The San Antonio River Authority does not represent or warrant that these tools are appropriate or will work properly for any specific project.  Use of the SARA Tools is at your own risk, and you agree that you will hold SARA harmless from any losses you suffer related to the use of the SARA Tools.  Any modification or reuse of the SARA WQ Modeling Tools will require prior written permission from SARA.