Tackling a Monster SWM Model: A Charlottesville Case Study

Alex Partridge, EIT, Water Resources Engineer, GKY & Associates, Inc.

As stormwater management modeling advances and two-dimensional models become more commonplace, the need for bigger and better models is ever growing. Developing and using a large 1D-2D SWM model presents different challenges than just scaling up the methods and procedures involved in small-scale modeling. Using GKY’s recent 22,000-acre PCSWMM project for the City of Charlottesville as an example, this session will offer insights into the distinctive hurdles encountered and solutions developed during the construction of a massive model. As such, the model required meticulous planning during the early stages of construction and equally meticulous attention to data management, computational capabilities, and interpretability of results throughout its 18 months of development.

Furthermore, this presentation aims to highlight the importance of stakeholder input, collaboration between multidisciplinary teams, and comprehensive documentation in ensuring the model’s longevity and accessibility. It will emphasize the significance of knowledge transfer between client and consultant, particularly in managing such extensive and multifaceted projects. Spoiler: the model itself was only one of many deliverables!

By examining the complexities and trade-offs involved in ambitious modeling projects, the goal of this presentation is to demonstrate that such projects, with careful strategy, are achievable without compromising accuracy or utility.

Author Bio

Alex Partridge, EIT, is a water resources engineer with GKY & Associates specializing in stormwater management modeling. In his two years with GKY, he has led projects of various sizes using modeling tools like SWMM, HEC-RAS, and HEC-HMS and tackling topics from flood mitigation to dam safety to FEMA LOMR applications. Alex earned degrees in civil/environmental engineering and global sustainability from the University of Virginia in 2022. Outside of work, he enjoys running, rock climbing, listening to orchestra music, and travel.