Bentley Systems Inc. has released enhanced versions of its information modeling software for water distribution systems that promise to improve visibility, forecasting and decision-making support for hydraulic modelers and system operators.

The company says the SELECT Series 5 release of WaterCAD, WaterGEMS, and HAMMER V8i have improvements that extend the sharing of system performance data across the separate disciplines of water system planning, design, and operations. This should improve collaboration and decision making throughout the infrastructure lifecycle, the company says.

Gregg Herrin, the software vendor's director for hydraulics and hydrology product management, says with the new releases, users can import either historic, or the most current real-time supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) data automatically into hydraulic models to create a base for long term planning. But also by gathering the most current data, and refreshing it again and again, those model results can be published to the utility's existing SCADA system control screen, to provide a real-time performance visualization to help operators evaluate and compare model predictions with actual system performance directly in the user interface they regularly employ.

"That's the biggest thing," Herrin says, "to be able to reach out and grab real-time SCADA data. Now you're not planning ahead based on some theoretical masterplan, you're looking at real-time data. You can actually be simulating your system every day, every hour, based on real-time data."

Herrin suggests the ability to calibrate system models based on real-time data also will not only help planners design better systems, but help operators run them more efficiently.