Written by Christopher Goodell, P.E., D.WRE | WEST Consultants
Copyright © The RAS Solution 2015. All rights reserved.
Continuing on with the discussion on leaking in 2D meshes, I want to highlight a new feature that will be included in the full release of Version 5.0 (hopefully due out early this summer). The new feature, 2D Area Breaklines, will make aligning cell faces on to high ground features a snap! Essentially, you draw breaklines along the crest of high ground features in your topography that will completely or temporarily act as a barrier to water flow. A good example of this is a levee or berm. As discussed in the previous post, we need to have our cell faces aligned to the high ground of these features so that the terrain is properly picked up in our mesh. Here’s the same example found in the Muncie data set. I’ve set the cell size to be rather larger through here, but certainly of an adequate size. As shown, there is a high ground feature with a slightly lower overflow section that (when the stage is high enough) will allow flow to spill northward and continue up the floodplain.
Notice that there is a cell that sits on top of the overflow section and straddles its high ground. Running the model this way will allow flow to leak through the high ground feature, even before the high ground is overtopped, as shown below. The example simulation below actually leaks water through the high ground a full 4 hours and 50 minutes before it is actually overtopped. Not good!
In previous RAS 5.0 beta versions, to fix this you had to manually add cell points to align your cell faces. In this example, that is not too hard, but you can imagine that with a long high ground feature and small cell sizes, this can take quite a bit of time.
With the pending full release of Version 5.0, you can now let 2D Area Breaklines do the work for you.
Select the 2D Area BreakLines button and click a series of points on your schematic to draw your breakline. Double-click for the last point and at the prompt, give your breakline a name.
Left-clicking on the breakline will provide you some options for control over how your breakline re-adjusts cells.
Select Edit Break Line Cell Spacing to specify the spacing of cell points around the breakline. In this example, I used a slightly higher center spacing so that the cells on the downstream side of the high ground feature extends all the way to the low spot (It is important to not have cells completely contained on a slope of a high ground feature like a levee or berm-I’ll save this topic for another discussion)
Now simply left-click again and select “Enforce Breakline in 2D Flow Area…” and RAS automatically redraws the mesh, respecting the breakline and the specified breakline cell center spacing.
Now we can see that the high ground feature no longer leaks and only allows water to pass to the next cell once it is overtopped.
It’s important to note that there is some fragmentation downstream of the crest. This is normal for water flowing over steep terrain. You could go to the trouble of reducing the size of cells as I did in the previous post to eliminate this issue, but as with all modeling decisions in HEC-RAS, you must determine if that effort is worth it based on your overall study objectives.