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HEC-RAS Computer Workshop for Unsteady Flow Applications

Jan 25-27, 2017

Portland, OR, USA

Held in conjunction with ASCE EWRI Institute.

Christopher R. Goodell, P.E., D.WRE, M.ASCE
Martin J. Teal, P.E., P.H., D.WRE, F.ASCE
Raymond Walton, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, M.ASCE
Brian Wahlin, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, F.ASCE
The number of instructors depends on the number of registrants. In the event that one of the above instructors is unavailable to teach, another qualified instructor from WEST Consultants, Inc., will be appointed.

This was the best seminar I have ever attended. It was very well organized and the problems covered were what I deal with on a regular basis.  Amy Mechling, Water Resource Engineer, Christopher B. Burke Engineering Ltd., Indianapolis, IN

This is a hands-on seminar. You must bring your own laptop.

Purpose and Background

Sponsored by Environmental and Water Resources Institute (EWRI) of ASCE, this HEC-RAS three-day seminar and computer workshop provides an opportunity for attendees with prior HEC-RAS modeling experience to learn to use the program for modeling unsteady flow applications in addition to some advanced aspects of steady flow modeling. Numerous workshops throughout the three days give useful hands-on experience in working with HEC-RAS. The instructors are experienced in both applying and teaching others how to use the software program.

The seminar begins with an introduction to using the unsteady flow component of HEC-RAS. Additional lectures present unsteady flow theory, steps for developing an unsteady flow simulation, and procedures for creating a stable and calibrated model. Guidance is given for techniques on modeling bridges and storage areas in the unsteady flow environment. Students are shown the inline and lateral weir features that can be added in both steady and unsteady flow models. Workshops accompanying these lectures provide practical application experience in HEC-RAS unsteady flow modeling. New features in the latest release of HEC-RAS are also discussed as part of the class.


The HEC-RAS modeling system is part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Next Generation software. Developed at the Hydrologic Engineering Center, the software package incorporates various aspects of hydraulic modeling, including steady and unsteady flow.

HEC-RAS applications include one-dimensional modeling of river channels, streams, and floodplains, from single reaches to complex stream networks. Bridge and culvert geometry can be defined and added, as well as inline and lateral structures, such as weirs and levees, which may include gates and culverts.

HEC-RAS advances in unsteady hydraulic analysis include features for modeling:

  • Storage areas
  • Time series and elevation controlled gates
  • Unsteady floodway analyses
  • Dam break analyses and levee breaching
  • Pump stations and navigation dams

Other advantages of modeling with HEC-RAS include:

  • User-friendly data entry tables and intuitive methods for navigating through the program
  • Useful tables, graphs, and cross-section and profile plots for viewing results
  • Animation of simulations
  • Sediment transport capacity

The unsteady portion of HEC-RAS incorporates all major components of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers DOS based UNET unsteady flow program, and HEC-RAS has routines for importing UNET data as well as data from other sources.

HEC-RAS operates in the Microsoft Windows environment and uses a graphical user interface for data entry, graphics, and display of program results. The program is used widely by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers across the nation as well as other public agencies and private industries throughout the world.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this seminar, you will:

  • Identify the three main components of an unsteady flow HEC-RAS model. Assessment Criteria: Students will work in pairs to create several unsteady flow models.
  • Understand the theoretical basis of unsteady flow analysis in the HEC-RAS model, and how this varies from the theoretical basis for steady flow analysis. Assessment Criteria: Students will work in pairs to answer questions that require a basic understanding of the theoretical basis of unsteady flow analysis in HEC-RAS.
  • Be able to develop simple unsteady HEC-RAS models for analyzing confluences and bridge/culvert structures. Assessment Criteria: Students will work in pairs to develop unsteady HEC-RAS models of bridge and culvert structures.
  • Understand the basic modeling principles for developing unsteady state hydraulic models. Assessment Criteria: Students will work in pairs to gain hands-on experience with the unsteady module of HEC-RAS.
Assessment of Learning Outcomes

Instructor(s) will observe student performance during multiple computer workshop problems, and students will take a test at the end of the class with questions addressing these items. The test will be graded in class by their classmates as the instructor goes over each question and answer.

Special Features

Workshop participants will receive links to websites/FTP containing the HEC-RAS software, the manuals in PDF format (User's Manual, Hydraulic Reference Manual, and Applications Guide), input files for the workshops, as well as workshop solution files.
Workshop participants receive the following publications and software: HEC-RAS software (latest version)

  • HEC-RAS Course Notes and Workshop Problems
  • HEC-RAS User Manual (digital copy)
  • HEC-RAS Hydraulic Reference Manual (digital copy)
  • HEC-RAS Application Guide (digital copy)
  • HEC-RAS Example Problems (digital copy)
Who Should Attend?

Consulting engineers, water resource planners, engineers employed by local, state, or federal agencies. Participants should have some experience in floodplain hydrology and hydraulics and prior experience with HEC-RAS or have completed a basic HEC-RAS course.

Course Outline

Time: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


  • New Features in HEC-RAS 4.1
  • Introduction to Unsteady Flow Modeling with HEC-RAS
  • Detailed Output and Results for Unsteady Flow Modeling
  • Computer Workshop on Unsteady Flow Modeling
  • River Mechanics and Unsteady Flow Theory
  • Additional Geometric Data for HEC-RAS Unsteady Flow Models
  • Computer Workshop on Pre-Processing for HEC-RAS Unsteady Flow Models


  • Boundary and Initial Conditions in the HEC-RAS Unsteady Flow Data Editor
  • Modeling Bridges and Culverts using HEC-RAS Unsteady Flow
  • Computer Workshop on Modeling Bridges
  • Modeling Inline and Lateral Weirs
  • Advanced Unsteady Flow Features
  • Computer Workshop on Inline and Lateral Weirs


  • Modeling Storage Areas and Hydraulic Connections
  • Computer Workshop on Adding Structures to an Unsteady Flow Model
  • Calibration of Unsteady Flow Models
  • Computer Workshop on Calibrating an Unsteady Flow Model
  • Model Stability, Accuracy, and Sensitivity
  • Computer Workshop on Troubleshooting
Hotel Information

Discounted hotel rooms are available on a first-come, first-served basis. See discount deadline and rates below.

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