Water Balance Model for Lake Level Simulation

In 1994, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources received funding from the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCMR) to develop a computer water balance model that would simulate lake level changes over time. This model would assist in furthering the understanding of lake hydrology in Minnesota to the benefit of local citizens, lake associations, local government units, and other agencies. Project funding also included model application and specific study at White Bear Lake, a major metropolitan area lake that has a history of extreme water level fluctuations.

WATBUD is a physically based parameter model capable of optimizing and estimating selected water balance parameters by comparing simulated to known lake level data. It has been useful in identifying causes of level fluctuation, whether natural or artificial, and in quantifying water balance components for use in water quality models. Key features include:

  • Daily level changes are simulated from daily inputs of precipitation, and temperature; optional inputs of runoff, pan evaporation, or groundwater exchange; and optional internal submodel estimates of runoff, evaporation or groundwater exchange.
  • It is designed to enhance ease and speed of use by making use of readily available climate and hydrology data written directly from DNR Waters' data systems.
  • Internal routines allow for automated optimization of coefficient estimates by comparison with known historic lake levels.
  • User assistance is provided through internally accessible help files.
  • It includes graphical and tabular output options.
  • The model was developed in Windows 3.1 using Visual Basic and currently available in 32 bit version for Windows 95, 98, or NT.

Lake-Ground Water Interaction Study at White Bear Lake, Minnesota (4.4 Mb) - June 1998 study of the wide long term lake level fluctuations found at White Bear Lake in context of other Minnesota lakes using WATBUD modeling.

For more information contact:

Jim Solstad
Surface Water Hydrologist
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Division of Waters
tel. (651) 259-5711
fax. (651) 296-0445
E-mail: [email protected]