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Posted 3/12/2013

Release no. 13-023

Kavanaugh Breazeale

Vicksburg, Miss…Hydraulic engineers, geospatial information services (GIS) professionals, and economists from 23 of the 41 Corps of Engineers districts from around the country came together last week at the Vicksburg District. The purpose of the conference was to begin implementation of the Corps Water Management System (CWMS) on a national basis. This program will allow for a system-oriented watershed approach that will improve operations of Corps water control projects, allow for near real time flood mapping, and further the ability to look at “what if scenarios” for different rainfall events.


The Corp’s Modeling, Mapping, and Consequence Production Center (MMC) located here in Vicksburg and the Hydraulics Engineering Center (HEC) located in Davis, California, will lead this implementation throughout the nation.  Cory Winders, Project Coordinator of CWMS said, “There are approximately 220 Corps operational basins throughout the nation in which CWMS will be implemented.”  In 2013, the Corps will implement CWMS on the following river basins: Yazoo River (Vicksburg District), Kaskaskia River (St. Louis District), South Platte River (Omaha District), Buffalo Bayou (Galveston District) , Scioto and Muskingum Rivers (Huntington District), Tulare Lakebed (Sacramento District), and West Branch Susquehanna River (Baltimore District).


CWMS is a process that forecast or actual rainfall data can be incorporated into hydrologic and hydraulic models such that river stages and flood extents can be analyzed in a rapid manner.  Furthermore, various operational alternatives can be evaluated in not only inundation extents but also consequences related to flooding.  Damages can be quantified in terms of economic impacts, number of structures that will be impacted, and potential loss of life.


Ron Goldman, director of MMC, stated, “In the past, we were limited in the number of maps we could produce in a day.  Now, we’ll have the ability to produce numerous maps per day using multiple scenarios on a near real time basis.  These maps can be used by emergency mangers and the public to make decisions during a flood event.” 


Engineers and technicians in the Corps of Engineers provide services to state and local governments on how to minimize damage to their infrastructure from flooding.  They maintain and monitor a hydrological data collection system and geospatial data system to assist in making water control decisions.  They manage the water quality to support a sustainable ecosystem so we can continue to enjoy the region's many natural resources.