WEST Consultants, Inc. specializes in advanced water resources investigations, working toward sustainable solutions that balance the needs of the users with those of the environment.

News & Events

Dr. Brian Wahlin and Dr. David Curtis represented WEST Consultants at the Conference on Innovative and Sustainable Agri-water Management: Adapting to a Variable and Changing Climate, held on 12–17 August, 2018, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Delegates from more than 40 countries attended the conference, hosted by the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID). Dr. Wahlin currently serves as President of the US Committee on Irrigation and Drainage (USCID), the US representative to ICID. Dr. Wahlin is also currently one of nine Vice Presidents for ICID. Dr. Wahlin reports that “From a world-wide perspective, it is amazing to see the high level of innovation and adaptation supporting the promise of a water secure world free of poverty and hunger through sustainable rural development.” In addition to his duties as the USCID representative, Dr. Wahlin presented and discussed “Canal Automation for Irrigation Systems” based on the book he co-edited for the Environmental and Water Resources Institute. He also presented on emergency operations for the Central Arizona Project Canal as well as a screening tool, developed by WEST colleague Dr. Brent Travis, to quickly analyze the risk associated with breaches along canal embankments or levees. Dr. Curtis presented papers on California’s record rainfall year of 2016-17 and on the realities of California’s highly volatile climate. He also presented innovative work led by WEST colleague, Dr. Luciana Cunha, on drought contingency planning on the Middle Rio Grande River in New Mexico.

WEST was selected to complete dam failure inundation studies related to new California state requirements for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Helix Water District, the Santa Fe Irrigation District, the County of Santa Barbara, and others. Newly enacted California state law that became effective in July of 2017 requires dam owners to prepare an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) for their dams and critical appurtenant structures with deadlines depending on the hazard classification of the dam.  Inundation maps will form part of the new EAPs but these must be reviewed and approved by the California Division of Safety of Dams prior to submittal of revised EAPs.  WEST is currently working with multiple dam owners to meet the new state requirements and is preparing dam breach inundation studies and revised EAPs.

WEST Senior Vice President, Martin Teal, P.E., P.H., D.WRE, recently returned from the 86th annual meeting of the International Committee on Large Dams (ICOLD) and 26th International Congress on Large Dams in Vienna, Austria, where he was involved in multiple activities. He represented the U.S. on the ICOLD Committee on Sedimentation of Reservoirs, which he currently chairs, and led the all-day annual meeting of the committee which consists of 22 members from 18 different countries. As a current U.S. Society on Dams (USSD) board member, he also participated in meetings of the ICOLD National Committees of the Americas group and a signing ceremony for a Memorandum of Cooperation with the Korean Committee on Large Dams. He was an active contributor to Congress Question 100 “Reservoir Sediment and Sustainable Development,” presenting his paper “Identification and Assessment of Hydrologic Indicators for Predicting Reservoir Sedimentation Rates.” The meeting and congress had over 1,500 participants from more than 80 countries.

Brian Wahlin, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, manager of WEST’s Tempe, AZ office, led a committee of global canal automation experts tasked with developing the Canal Automation for Irrigation Systems Manual 131 for the American Society of Civil Engineers. Bert Clemmens, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, also of WEST’s Tempe office, authored several chapters of the manual. The manual documents new technological progress in canal automation, as well as practical guidance on more routine aspects of canal automation. “Canal Automation for Irrigation Systems” edited by Brian Wahlin, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE and Darell Zimbelman, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE is available on the ASCE website. A book review published in the Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, 2018, 144(4) described the work, “Overall, this is an excellent reference book on irrigation canal automation, and the techniques presented by this manuscript can potentially be expanded for the automation of canals with broader uses and applications such as flood control, water quality enhancement (e.g., stormwater treatment areas), and navigation. The book is recommended to practicing hydraulic/electronic engineers involved with water control systems, as a design guideline. The authors of this MOP have a strong background in this subject and have presented the material in a logical manner, still keeping the presented information engaging and relevant.”

Brent Travis, Ph.D., P.E., Brian Wahlin, Ph.D., P.E., and Alissa Miller, P.E. – all from WEST, co-authored a paper with Frank Brown, P.E., CFM, Civil Engineer with the Flood Control District of Maricopa County and presented it at the Association of State Floodplain Managers 42nd Annual National Conference in Phoenix, AZ. The paper, What Levee Risk? Simplified Levee Breach Analysis for Non-Accredited FEMA Levees, presented an overview of the method, assumptions, limitations, and results of the Levee Analysis and Mapping Procedure (LAMP) application to the Tres Rios Levee.

WEST’s Senior Vice President, David C. Curtis, Ph.D., F.EWRI, P.E., D.WRE, presented at the 2018 World Environmental & Water Resources Congress in Minneapolis, MN, June 3-7, 2018. His paper, titled, “Hydromet Sensor Inventory: Surprising Number of Operation Sensors Found”, described a recent hydrometeorological sensor inventory for the 6,750 km2 Chehalis River Basin in west central Washington. The primary objective of the inventory was to 1) assess the current network, 2) identify gaps in monitoring and communication, and 3) to identify unmet needs. To date, more than 4,800 operational hydrometeorological sensors have been identified in and near the Chehalis River Basin. More than 20 hydrometeorological sensor types were found in the 35,000 km2 study area, including nearly 900 precipitation sensors, over 750 temperature sensors, and more than 60 stage sensors. The hydrometeorological network as a whole was evaluated. Gaps were identified and recommendations were made to the Chehalis River Basin Flood Authority regarding plans for supporting flood warning, water resources management, and hydrologic/hydraulic modeling efforts in the basin.

WEST’s Senior Vice President, Martin J. Teal, P.E., P.H., D.WRE, F.ASCE, presented at the 2018 World Environmental & Water Resources Congress in Minneapolis, MN, June 3-7, 2018. His presentation, “What is the International Commission on Large Dams Doing about Reservoir Sedimentation?”, described the activities and direction of ICOLD on this important topic, including recent bulletins and those currently in preparation.  Mr. Teal currently chairs the ICOLD Committee on Sedimentation of Reservoirs and will also lead that committee’s meeting at the 26th Congress – 86th Annual Meeting in July 2018 in Vienna, Austria.

WEST Vice President, Brian Wahlin, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE represented the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID) at the Water for Food International Forum. Dr. Wahlin, also Vice President of ICID and President of the U.S. Committee on Irrigation and Drainage (USCID), represented ICID at the “Water for Food International Forum, Farmer-led Irrigated Agriculture: Seeds of Opportunity” held January 29-30, 2018 at the World Bank Conference Center in Washington, D.C. The conference was convened by the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska and the World Bank, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Agency for International Development. The forum, attended by participants from over 30 countries, focused on improving water and food security and livelihoods for smallholder farmers in developing countries by increasing and expanding sustainable irrigated agriculture. Presenters and participants explored the investments needed and the necessary enabling environment for enhanced agricultural production, including strong partnerships, linkages to markets support, capacity and technical training, and the role of the private and public sectors.

In late April, Katie Messick, GIS Specialist with WEST presented a poster at the American Water Resources Association GIS conference in Orlando, FL. The poster, titled “Calculating the Effects of Climate Change Modeling on Olsen Creek, WA Bridge Replacement Design,” detailed WEST’s use of a methodology developed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to estimate future flows at any point in Washington State based on ten Global Climate Models. WEST applied the methodology to an existing study at Olsen Creek on the Olympic Peninsula and determined that the new bridge length should be increased by five feet in order to satisfy requirements that the bridge provide fish passage and safely pass a 100-year flood event 50 years from now.

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