The First European HEC Software Workshop is a great success

Delegates gathered at CIWEM in London for a two day workshop dedicated to the HEC hydraulic and hydrological modelling software – HEC-RAS, HEC-HMS and HEC-ResSim.

Free software

The Hydrologic Engineering Center (HEC) is based in California and is part of the United States Corps of Engineers and provides software and training to engineers working on water resource and flood control projects. HEC software is free to any user and is widely used throughout the world.

Organised by Felicity Clarke, our Training Co-Ordinator, the workshop took place on Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 October and was delivered by key engineers from HEC; Chris Dunn (HEC Director), Gary Brunner (HEC Senior Technical Hydraulic Engineer) and Matt Fleming (HEC Chief of the Hydrology and Hydraulics Technology Division).

Day one

The workshop began with a keynote session from Chris on ‘The HEC software family and its future development.’ After a coffee break and energetic networking opportunity delegates then discussed ‘HEC-RAS v5 – what is new?’ with Gary.

Four workshops, two per day, targeted specific areas of the HEC software;

  • Building a 2D model in HEC-RAS
  • How to build a HEC-HMS catchment model from scratch
  • Using HEC-RAS in sediment transport studies
  • HEC-ResSim and management of reservoir networks

These practical workshops were highly interactive giving delegates a hands-on experience of using the software with expert guidance from the HEC team. We also welcomed Dr Tony Green from Mekong Modelling Associates as a guest speaker covering the third workshop.

Jeremy Benn, JBA Group Executive Chairman, commented, “We’re very grateful to the HEC team and Tony Green for sharing their knowledge with our delegates. It’s not often you get chance as a modeller to meet the software developers and top class experts in your field and the workshop attendees have greatly benefited from this.”

An optional evening networking event was available on the Tuesday. Delegates had the chance to visit the Thames Barrier, which is run and maintained by the Environment Agency, for a personal presentation detailing how the barrier is used to avert the potential flooding of London. A short video can be seen on the UK Government’s website detailing this process. Thanks go to Simon Lewis and other Environment Agency colleagues for their time in showing us the history and operation of the barrier and also an overview of the EA’s flood risk modelling activities.

Day two

In addition to the two workshops on day two, delegates were taught about the ‘Efficiencies in using HEC software’ and ‘Benchmarking of HEC-RAS 2D.’

All conference attendees were invited to showcase a project on day two of the workshop by submitting a poster detailing how the HEC software has been used, specifically focusing on the software’s new functionalities and efficiencies. Three posters were put forward;

  • ‘Ravensfleet to Susworth Catchment Study’ presented by Adam Westhead of JBA Consulting
  • ‘The Long Flow – Tracking the waters of Byzantine Constantinople’ presented by Francesca Ruggeri of The university of Edinburgh
  • ‘HEC-RAS 2D in Urban Area: Morpeth, Northumberland, UK’ presented by Kate Bradbrook of JBA Consulting

Delegates took away a USB stick with all of the workshops content on for future reference. During the networking breaks attendees were also encouraged to leave feedback on the workshop itself as well as how we should move forward in the future.

It was a great event

Feedback from the event suggests delegates found it incredibly beneficial to meet and ask questions with the software developers whilst several people also discussed the differences between American approaches to modelling compared to here in the UK and Europe. Suggestions for future development included an online user forum, email updates of new HEC releases and another similar event to take place next year.

Overall the event was a great success with delegates learning things they never knew they could do with the software as well as networking with other professionals and modellers within the industry.

Thanks go to the HEC software developers for their invaluable time and travel from America. Also, to the CIWEM event team for their support before and during the event and to the other presenters and poster contributors.

Want to know more?

Click here to see all of the other training opportunities that we provide which cover software, environmental and much more. Also, watch this space for future HEC Workshop dates as we hope to bring you another event soon.

Finally, we thought we’d leave you with a couple of poems written by delegates of the event as a summary and homage to the workshop.

A bit of fun

HEC-RAS – an acrostic poem










HEC-RAS – to the tune of That’s Amore

Solve the Saint Venant Equations,

Funded by the American nation,

That is HEC-RAS.


When your model’s unstable,

And coping’s more than you’re able,

Turn to HEC-RAS.


HEC-RAS isn’t too choosy,

Model in 1D or 2D,

And all that jazz.


The software is free,

Thanks to the team at H.E.C.

That is HEC-RAS.

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