2019 Annual Water Resources Conference Workshops 

Pre-Conference Workshop 1: Sunday, November 3 | 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Using Multiobjective Evolutionary Algorithms to Support Water Resources Planning

Water utilities undertaking long term planning must consider conflicting performance goals, e.g. trying to reliably meet growing demands, maintaining aging infrastructure, while avoiding costly new infrastructure and minimizing harm to the environment. Using traditional planning approaches, the utilities may only be able to develop and test a few alternative portfolios, and these few may not achieve the best performance or balance possible in the competing objectives. Multiobjective Evolutionary Algorithms (MOEAs) are an emerging decision support tool that can overcome the limitations in portfolio development and provide quantitative information about the tradeoffs between competing objectives, leading to insights about a water supply system and high-performing, innovative sets of planning decisions. Attendees of this workshop will:

  1. Learn what an MOEA is.
  2. Identify how it can be used in different ways- brief case study reviews.
  3. Participate in in-depth, hands-on, interactive session on fictitious but realistic western water utility to see how it can be used for long term water supply planning – (majority of workshop).
  4. Describe how MOEAs can support complex decision tradeoff analysis.
  5. See how visual analytics can help analyze difficult problems.
NOTE: All participants must have Tableau Reader installed on their computers (downloadable for free). The OS requirements are: Microsoft Windows 7 or later or Mac OSX 10.11 or later. Download Tableau Reader
See this workshop in action - here's what attendees are saying:
“There’s a big trend to make decisions by weighting, and let the math make the decision for you, but we lose the ability for the human brain to weigh the tradeoffs. [The MOEA] is a really nice alternative … Combining human ability with model ability.”
“Is the impact that subtle changes in decisions can have on performance [water system] something that utilities miss in the way we currently do things?”   
“It was really helpful to go through different layers of complexity. Once we got a basic understanding we moved into applied, interactive examples and had time for discussion.”

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Pre-Conference Workshop 2: Sunday, November 3 | 1:00 - 5:00 PM

That's So Water Meta!

All too often, decision-makers are unable to answer fundamental questions about our water systems in a timely way. Even basic questions like: How much water is there? What is its quality? How is it used (i.e., withdrawn, consumed or returned for reuse)? The data needed to answer these questions often exist. However, they are scattered across multiple platforms at different organizations (both government and non-governmental) with different standards, so that it is difficult to reuse beyond the primary purpose for which they were collected. Moreover, it is difficult and time-consuming to transform these data into information that supports decision-making at local or regional scales. To address this challenge, the nation requires a 21st-century water data infrastructure, with new technologies. We will present options for sharing data, and we will practice creating and applying metadata to maximize the potential value of shared data and ensure data are findable, interoperable, and reusable (FAIR).  

This workshop is free, including AWRA conference attendees and all others.

Topics and activities to be included in the 4-hour period include:
  1. What is data sharing and why do it? Internet of Water.
  2. Ways to share data: Introduction to web services and cloud services.
  3. Ways to document data: Introduction to CUAHSI tools for metadata creations.
  4. Harmonizing shared data for use: Application of metadata using examples from WaDE and CUAHSI.
  5. Discussion of shared experiences among participants.

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