As engineers we love to model the world around us and estimate the impact of variables on our design. It is an activity that appeals to the core of our profession. In this review, we look at a tool that uses the convenience of digital computers to help solve complex hydrological problems. Introducing – HydroCAD, the preferred tool to model site hydrology. Read on to learn more about the latest features and pricing options.
What is Hydrology?
Hydrology is a broad area of study concerning the water cycle through the atmosphere, land and oceans – hydrology is an important branch of science that is of interest to engineers dealing with the optimal design of water features during construction and site preparation. It offers a means to estimate water movement between catchment areas and other natural features. Prior to the use of computers, the task of estimating run-off involved cumbersome manual methods and they allowed limited means to study ‘what-if” scenarios. These requirements sowed the need for computer based tools to study water movement, distribution and the corresponding effect on site planning.
HydroCAD is a storm water/hydrological modelling system that includes the capability to model TR-20, TR-55, and to prepare routing diagrams to simulate runoffs. It offers a graphical user interface to model hydrographic elements such as sub catchments, ponds, and reaches in a watershed.
Whether it is the modelling of hydrological features and their inter-connections, run-off calculations, multiple event rainfall impact modelling, dam breach, channel flow hydraulics, pollutant loading, exfiltration or pond design, HydroCAD is well equipped to handle these and many more site drainage challenges.
HydroCAD also allows for connecting graphs to model inter-connected drainage systems allowing simulation of considerable complexity. Complete routing of pumped conduits based on the pump rating curve, pipe modeling, elevations and losses are also included in the software.
It has a solid user interface to enter and import data in varied formats and supports extensive graphical reporting options including various image formats for graphs and CSV files for further analysis using spreadsheet software.
Model data can be stored in ASCII format for easy sharing between computers with HydroCAD software. It can also import watershed data from drawings generated in AutoCAD.
Help & Support
To help with the learning curve for new users, HydroCAD offers a comprehensive built-in manual, free email support and a 90 Day Deluxe support inclusive of toll-free tech support and updates. Deluxe support offers unlimited phone support and software updates. This is apart from self learning materials, live seminars and a dedicated YouTube Channel that are likely to address most questions that users have.
HydroCAD pricing depends on two aspects – the number of user licenses, and the node-capacity. We’ll look at them individually below and briefly discuss the support costs.
While HydroCAD can be used on a ‘try-before-you-buy’ basis, an array of licensing options has been provided to meet varied user needs:
- Flexible Software Licensing
- Multiple Licensing
- Metered Usage
Flexible Software Licensing allows the user to install the software on multiple computers provided that it is used on only one computer at a time.
Multiple Licensing allows multiple users to use the software at the same time on different computers. HydroCAD offers discounts on such licenses.
Metered usage allows usage of the software on any number of computers while being charged on an hourly basis.
All of the above licensing options depend on the number of nodes configured on the software. The drainage system is modeled on the software as a graph with individual nodes in a routing diagram. Depending upon the needs of a user or project, a node capacity is chosen for licensing purposes. Each license is made available with the requested node capacity. Additional help to decide the node capacity appropriate for an application is also available.
Based on node capacity, the following combinations of pricing tiers are possible for a single licensed user:
- 5-node – $275
- 10-node – $550
- 20-node – $825 (Most Popular Option)
- 40-node – $1100
- 90-node – $1375
- 200-node – $1650
- 450-node – $1925
- 1000-node – $2200
These costs are scaled up for additional licensed users, however, additional discounts are also available when adding more than one licensed user. You can also upgrade by paying the difference in cost if additional capacity is needed in terms of nodes or licenses.
Support & Update Costs
Apart from licensing costs, there are other continuing costs that are listed below:
- Deluxe Support
- Software Update Costs (if user forgoes Deluxe Support)
Outside of free web/email support to all users, costs include Deluxe Support which provides unlimited phone support and free software updates. All licenses are provided with 90 days of Deluxe Support which is eligible for subsequent fee based extensions on an annual basis.
Software updates are included as part of Deluxe Support but can be purchased separately to take advantage of new features and tools if the user is only interested in updates.
Accurate hydrology and water run off modeling could mean the difference between achieving an optimal cost/schedule mix in projects, versus unforeseen drainage issues that may impact the viability of the project. Not to mention expensive delays and customer dissatisfaction in a competitive environment affecting future project bids. An investment in HydroCAD with its sophisticated features, unmatched technical support and accessible/flexible pricing plans are a welcome asset in any site development endeavour giving a competitive edge to contractors.