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. Models are widely used as decision support tools in the water resources field. The objective of this 4-credit class is to learn the fundamentals of modeling water resources systems and related social behavior. Students will develop quantitative relationships between surface and ground water resources and economic and social factors associated with using those water resources.

Each semester, a different watershed in New Mexico is selected for intensive study and model development to understand the basin water resources, challenges and constraints affecting their management. Over the course of the semester, students will build an integrated hydro-economic model of the selected basin with hands-on computer labs using a combination of the software HEC-HMS and Excel. The free US Army Corps of Engineers Hydrologic Modeling System (HEC-HMS) software is widely used in the US and around the world for studies of water availability, flooding, land use impact, infrastructure design, and system operation, among many other applications (Figure 1). The Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet software is free to registered UNM Students and is widely used for computation, graphing, and modeling. Based on the hydro-economic model, students will then explore policy questions regarding the system’s optimal management.   

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


572 figure
Figure 1. Examples of (a) a HEC-HMS model output showing the basin precipitation and flow; and (b) a hydro-economic model output showing the optimal pumping rate of groundwater.


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

For questions, contact Dr. Jingjing Wang ( and Dr. Gerhard Schoener (