News & Events
In recognition of the need to improve flooding risk assessment for dam and levee breach evaluations, Brent Travis, Ph.D., P.E.; Gyan Basyal; and Bryan Wahlin, Ph.D., P.E., of WEST, developed new software that directly incorporates probabilistic aspects of all major components consistent with Monte-Carlo type simulations. The resulting product, named RiskRAS, is a multipurpose GUI based HEC-RAS simulation tool, written in Python language utilizing reliable and well tested libraries. In addition to dam and levee break studies, RiskRAS can also be used for floodplain delineation and uncertainty analysis, and provides sophisticated post-processing including statistical analyses and direct floodplain mapping. As a parallel project to RiskRAS, a simplified closed form mathematical model was also developed from first principles in order to predict 2-dimensional floodwave propagation due to levee breaks, thus allowing rapid risk assessment of flooding at any point of interest in the floodplain. As a further test of their capabilities, both the RiskRAS and the simplified model were then used to assess hazard risk at an area of interest within the overflow floodplain of a major levee. These results were discussed and practical guidelines suggested for how best to utilize both methods for hazard risk assessment due to levee failure. Dr. Travis presented at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting in Washington, D.C., December 10-14, 2018 with an iPoster and an eLightning talk.
In January 2019, Ramesh S. Chintala, P.E., CFM, D.WRE, joined WEST to serve as Vice President and Office Manager in our new Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas office. Mr. Chintala will lead Texas area operations with primary responsibility for growing WEST’s presence in Texas. Most recently, he led business development and project delivery efforts as Project Director in Atkins North America’s Texas water resources practice. For more than 25 years, Mr. Chintala has developed, planned, and executed a wide variety of environmental and water resources engineering and planning projects throughout the United States. His experience includes FEMA floodplain studies, hydraulic modeling and design, watershed master planning, and stream stabilization and restoration. Mr. Chintala has advanced training in fluvial geomorphology and is skilled in the use of standard and multi-dimensional H&H numerical modeling computer programs.
In December Jerry W. Webb, P.E., D.WRE, a registered professional in the state of Tennessee, joined the WEST team after more than 44 years of working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE’s) Memphis District, Huntington District, and Headquarters offices, where he served as Principal Hydrologic and Hydraulic Engineer. He was Chief of the Water Resources Engineering Branch in the Huntington District, where he was a key member of the Dam Safety Committee and was responsible for water management activities associated with thirty-five reservoirs and nine navigation locks and dams. As the Hydrology, Hydraulics, and Coastal Community of Practice (HH&C CoP) Leader at the USACE Headquarters in Washington D.C., his duties encompassed all aspects of hydrologic, hydraulic, and coastal engineering. In this position, he was responsible for technical policy concerning design, construction, and maintenance of dams and appurtenant structures. He also served as the Chairman of the Columbia River Treaty’s Permanent Engineering Board Engineering Committee, for which he was responsible for coordinating water control operations in accordance with the Treaty.
Mr. Webb served as an engineering officer for more than 23 years in the Tennessee and West Virginia Air National Guard and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. He also served as the Senior Advisor to Iraq’s Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR). While in this position supporting Iraq reconstruction, he oversaw more than 12,000 personnel operating the world’s oldest water resources system. In addition, he was the interim Senior Advisor to the Ministry of Environment during January-February 2004. He served several years as the Hydraulics Committee chair and two terms as a U.S. Society of Dams (USSD) Board member. He was a USACE representative for the Advisory Committee on Water Information (ACWI) and the Hydrology and Sedimentation national subcommittees. He served two terms as a Board member and is Past-President (2014) with the AAWRE and acted as a Department of Defense (DOD) representative to the National Dam Safety Review Board.