Water resources modelling with Aquator

Animation of reservoir drawing down in Aquator

Aquator is used by the largest water utility companies in the UK to model their water resource systems. These range from models of small systems with hydropower in mountainous terrain to large, conjunctive use networks supplying urban populations from groundwater sources and large river basins. Environment agencies use Aquator to model river basins to check on water company abstraction and develop abstraction licensing policy.

Ladybower reservoir

River basin modelling features include: river regulation, forecasting, travel times, use of different catchment models and differentiation of river flow at any point into 'natural', 'cumulative abstraction' and 'release' components. On the supply side, water is used to meet demand using a linear optimisation algorithm that seeks to minimise cost, but also to preserve the state of resources on a daily basis.

Howden reservoir

The inclusion of Microsoft Visual Basic® for Applications (VBA), the same macro language used in Excel®, allows any degree of customisation that you require, meaning that Aquator can model complex systems more accurately than other commercial modelling software. Additionally you can incorporate Aquator into other VBA-enabled applications to provide water resources data. For example, an Excel spreadsheet macro can start Aquator, run a model, abstract the results, undertake further analysis and display results in the format you require.


  • Drag and drop model construction from over 40 types of component
  • Full conjunctive water use optimised each day on cost and resource state
  • Step-by-step execution displays flows on schematic for easy problem diagnosis
  • Animated schematic shows reservoir levels change and when supplies fail
  • Customisable operation using Microsoft Visual Basic® for Applications (VBA)
  • Facilities to manage time series data with transfer from & to Microsoft Excel®
  • Internal water balance checks
  • Daily time step
  • Open architecture allowing third parties to add new components and features
  • Multiple projects can be loaded simultaneously or run in parallel
  • Context-sensitive HTML help with 500-page manual in PDF format


Aquator catchment component

The usual way of specifying river catchment flows is by applying time series data to a standard Aquator Catchment component. An alternative way is to use a catchment model component developed for use with Aquator.

Aquator HYSIM catchment component

One example is the Aquator HYSIM catchment component, which incorporates the HYSIM© catchment model*. Users with a compatible version of HYSIM will automatically find this component on the Aquator toolbar. This component may be used to supply river flows anywhere in the project. HYSIM groundwater storage can be adjusted with VBA to simulate abstractions.

Aquator TW Aquifer component

Another example is the Aquator TW Aquifer component, which was developed for Thames Water. This component simulates the behaviour of chalk and limestone aquifer units in the Thames basin where abstractions from these components reduce river flows from the aquifer.

We or other parties can develop other catchment model components for Aquator on request.

* The HYSIM catchment model is supplied and supported by Water Resource Associates.

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