U.S. Department of Energy

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

MOdel for Scale Adaptive River Transport (MOSART) Large-Scale Water Management Model (WM)

The MOdel for Scale Adaptive River Transport (MOSART) is a large-scale river routing model which improves the magnitude and timing of river flow simulations by explicit treatment of sub-grid and in-channel water flow and dynamics (Li et al. 2013). All model parameters are physically based and only a small subset requires calibration or pre-estimation. MOSART can reproduce the seasonal variation and magnitude of channel velocities at different resolutions with both grid- and subbasin-based representations (Tesfa et al. 2014). More importantly, MOSART provides a scalable framework for representing and studying the riverine dynamics of water, energy and biogeochemistry cycles across local, regional and global scales from an integrated. The water management model (WM; Voisin et al. 2013a) is a large scale water management model dynamically coupled to MOSART and which represents reservoir operations (storage and regulation releases for multiple purposes), and sectoral withdrawals from grid cells and main channel flows (Hejazi et al. 2015). It provides the linkage with the global integrated assessment model GCAM through water demand (Voisin et al. 2013b), as well as linkage with  the siting model CERF (spatial water availability) and with the electricity grid model PROMOD (Voisin et al. 2016). The PRIMA and RIAM versions of MOSART-WM model and associated datasets have been used to evaluate the contribution of human activities on water resources to projected changes in water availability (Voisin et al. 2013b, Voisin et al. 2016) and has supported integrated analysis to evaluate national policy adaptation scenario (GCAM) on sectors of activities dependent on water availability (irrigation, non irrigation) (Hejazi et al. 2015). The WM-GCAM coupling has been extended by implementing capabilities in WM to handle sectoral water demand associated with either groundwater or surface water systems, and a return flow component (Voisin et al. 2017). Future improvement in WM include the merging of MOSART-WM and MOSART-heat branches, as well as the implementation of a hydropower generation module and enhanced monthly operating rules.

Mean annual regulated flow at a) conventional hydropower plants, b) fresh surface-water–dependent thermoelectric plants, and c) their corresponding maximum generation capacity (Fig. 3 from Voisin et al. 2016).

 1800+ reservoir simulated in the PRIMA-WM
1800+ reservoir simulated in the PRIMA-WM set up according to their operational purposes and storage capacity


Annual total water demand (left) and actual water supply (center)
Annual total water demand (left) and actual water supply (center) in cubic meters, and fractional water supply deficit for historical and future B1 periods.(Fig 12. in Voisin et al. 2013b)


Point of Contact: Nathalie Voisin

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Hejazi MI, N Voisin, L Liu, LM Bramer, DC Fortin, JE Hathaway, M Huang, P Kyle, LR Leung, H-Y Li, Y Liu, PL Patel, TC Pulsipher, JS Rice, TK Tesfa, CR Vernon, and Y Zhou. 2015. “21st Century United States Emissions Mitigation Could Increase Water Stress More than the Climate Change It Is Mitigating.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 112(34). 10635–10640. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1421675112.

Li, H., M.S. Wigmosta, H. Wu, M. Huang, Y. Ke, A.M. Coleman, and L.R. Leung (2013), A physically based runoff routing model for land surface and Earth system models. J. Hydrometeor., 14(3), 808 – 828, DOI:10.1175/JHM-D-12-015.1

Tesfa TK, H-Y Li, LR Leung, M Huang, Y Ke, Y Sun, and Y Liu. 2014. “A Subbasin-Based Framework to Represent Land Surface Processes in an Earth System Model.” Geoscientific Model Development. 7(3). 947–963. DOI:10.5194/gmd-7-947-2014.

Voisin N, H Li, D Ward, M Huang, M Wigmosta, and LR Leung. 2013a. “On an Improved Sub-Regional Water Resources Management Representation for Integration into Earth System Models.” Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions. 10(3). 3501–3540. DOI:10.5194/hessd-10-3501-2013.

Voisin, N., L. Liu, M. Hejazi, T. Tesfa, H. Li, M. Huang, Y. Liu, and L.R. Leung (2013b), One-way coupling of an integrated assessment model and a water resources model: evaluation and implications of future changes over the US Midwest, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 17, 4555-4575, DOI:10.5194/hess-17-4555-2013.

Voisin N, M Kintner-Meyer, J Dirks, R Skaggs, D Wu, T Nguyen, Y Xie, M Hejazi. 2016. "Vulnerability of the US Western Electric Grid to Hydro-Climatological Conditions: How Bad Can it Get?" Energy, 115, 1-12, DOI:10.1016/j.energy.2016.08.059.

Voisin, N., M. I. Hejazi, L. R. Leung, L. Liu, M. Huang, H.-Y. Li, and T. Tesfa (2017), Effects of spatially distributed sectoral water management on the redistribution of water resources in an integrated water model, Water Resour. Res., 53, DOI:10.1002/2016WR019767

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