Watershed Modeling

Advanced models will help us better understand and predict the flow of stormwater runoff and the amount of pollution generated during storm events.


A sample map showing areas where stormwater runoff drains to the Mississippi River without any treatment or filtration.

A screenshot from within one of the MWMO models.

From left: MWMO Projects and Outreach Director Stephanie Johnson, Environmental Specialist Brian Jastram and Water Resources Director Udai Singh scout for potential monitoring equipment locations in a stormtunnel in May 2016.

Project Details

City: Minneapolis

Type: Other

Status: Active

MWMO Funding: $3 million

Partners: City of Columbia Heights, City of Fridley, City of Hilltop, City of Lauderdale, City of Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, City of St. Anthony Village, City of St. Paul

Staff Contact:
Stephanie Johnson, PhD, PE
Projects and Outreach Director
Email Stephanie Johnson, PhD, PE
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The MWMO is in the process of developing comprehensive models for all of the subwatersheds within its boundaries. Using these models, the MWMO and its partners will be able to understand and predict the flow of stormwater runoff and the amount of pollution that is generated during storm events. These models will be used to help target stormwater mitigation projects in a way that maximizes their cost-efficiency and the amount of pollution and flooding they reduce.

For each subwatershed, two models are being developed. A hydrology and hydraulics (H&H) model is created to understand the volume and velocity of stormwater flow during storm events. A water quality model is then developed to understand the amount and sources of pollution being generated in the area.

To help ensure accuracy, the models are compared to actual MWMO monitoring data. Real-life information about the nature of the water and pollutants moving through the stormwater system is used to calibrate the models to the extent possible, providing additional certainty for decision-makers.

The modeling project is an ongoing effort, expected to be completed in 2019.