@griTech: What computers can do for the Florida Everglades

IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA, many problems present themselves on a yearly basis once the wet season arrives. The challenge of managing the Everglades and the natural systems of the area was one that desperately needed a touch of innovation. That is why South Florida Water Management District Principal Engineer Alaa Ali has developed a groundbreaking computer program called the iModel to better control the flow of water in and around the Florida Everglades.

During the months when the rain begins to fall at a higher rate, the Everglades begin to have serious issues with both flooding and drought conditions, depending on the area. The computer’s Seminole “inverse modeling” design has the ability to change the way water is managed and may change the way the Everglades thrive and survive. The iModel system takes the decision to move the water, which is then followed by the modeled effect, and allows the user to enter the desired result, and the program reveals the way to achieve it.

When the iModel is set in motion, it has the ability to lessen the severity of flooding and droughts, improve the way reservoirs are managed, and accelerate the restoration of natural systems. The system also simulates the flow of water in real-time based on the amount of rain falling. A complex network of canals and pumps create a natural flow of water as a result of the data sent to the water managers. This can then be used to help the managers make enhanced selections when planning, implementing, and operating major restoration projects.

Director of SFWMD Operations, Maintenance, and Construction Tommy Strowd says, “For the first time, we will be able to manage water in real-time based on how rainfall historically would have moved in the Everglades.” He goes on to say, “This is not a small accomplishment. It is a groundbreaking tool that will change the way we manage water to benefit the Everglades”

The Florida Everglades is too important for the health of our state to let it simply survive. This groundbreaking way to distribute and manage the flow of water in the area has the ability to bring the Everglades into the 21st century. This vital region deserves to thrive and flourish for future generations of Floridians.


article by RYAN WALLS

Posted May 15, 2012

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