Jacobs developed 46 drainage alternatives based on the required criteria, by iteratively adjusting flow lines and widths and adding multiple standard-size box culverts in 3 to 4 groups to provide conveyance while considering factors including cost, ease of access, additional capacity beyond the proposed design, and construction schedule. Each alternative was analysed for a range of design flow events from 5-year to 100-year flow events.
The combination of 46 alternatives and 5 design flow events each have resulted in 230 2D unsteady-state simulations. Because of the fine resolution of the 2D model mesh size used, each simulation took about 2.75 hours to complete. The total computation time required for evaluating the project alternatives exceeded over 600 hours.
The time taken to run simulations on local computers and evaluate each design alternative sequentially had created a bottle neck for the project causing delays in the schedule and an increase in contractor costs for TxDOT. To expedite hydraulic evaluation of the drainage designs, Jacobs used Flood Cloud to run Waco 2D model simulations in the cloud. Flood Cloud facilitated in running multiple alternative simulations simultaneously without the need for procuring additional local computers. About 60% of the total simulations were run using Flood Cloud. Doing so accelerated the progress on optimisation of drainage design for the project and helped in meeting schedules for detailed design and construction tasks.
Flood Cloud’s real-time dashboard was extremely helpful to monitor progress of simultaneous batch runs, providing updates on percentage complete and download status. The “Test mode” within the application was used to test simulations locally before sending to the cloud. This enabled the user to perform quality control on the model runs to check if the models were set up correctly and to avoid wasting cloud computing credits. Another unique feature of Flood Cloud is the ability to download simulations results to any computer at any time after the simulations are completed in the cloud. This feature allows for better organisation and archiving of model data for documentation and future use.