Models (WR 572) (crosslisted as ECON 545)

Currently taught every spring semester

WR 572, Models, is the second core class in UNM’s Water Resources Program. The objective of this 4-credit class is to learn the fundamentals of dynamic simulation modeling as applied to water system management and decision-making. Students will learn to develop quantitative relationships between surface and ground water resources and economic and social factors associated with developing and using those water resources. This is done through use of system dynamics modeling, an emerging approach that is finding increasingly widespread use in the water resource profession, especially for decision support  for projects. 

Over the course of the semester, students build a dynamic simulation model of a selected river basin using the commercial software platform GoldSim Simulation Software, which is then used to explore policy questions regarding the system’s management. Each semester a different watershed in New Mexico is selected for intensive study and model development to understand the basin water resources and challenges and constraints affecting their management. In recent years, watersheds modeled have included the Rio Grande through central New Mexico, the New Mexican portion of the Gila River, and the Lower Colorado River from Hoover Dam through the Republic of Mexico. 

Students are graded on their understanding of hydrology and economics through homework and exams, and on their communication skills through written work and presentations.

goldsim model

Example of a GoldSim model output showing the effects of rainfall on water demand in Los Angeles


Prerequisites: WR 571 Contemporary Issues or permission from the instructor.

For questions, contact Dr. Bruce Thomson (