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Artes: Modeling Water Resources Management in Los Angeles

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Created: Jan 31, 2022 at 4:49 p.m.
Last updated: Jan 31, 2022 at 6:37 p.m.
DOI: 10.4211/hs.c2a8bb7e07b3409995c90a86120b2a9f
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Modeling Integrated Water Resources in Los Angeles

"The history of the growth and development of Los Angeles... reveals its conscious use of water as a tool to build the 'great metropolis of the Pacific'"
-- Vincent Ostrom, 1962

Welcome to the repository for Artes, an integrated model of urban water resources in metropolitan Los Angeles (LA). It evaluates the potential for enhanced local water supplies in LA.

Los Angeles (LA) relies on large infrastructure systems that import water over hundreds of miles. Communities in LA face a future of increased water scarcity and reduced imports. Hundreds of water agencies serve nearly 10 million people within the county. Laws, institutions, and hydrogeology all influence the capacity of these agencies to adapt to future changes. To analyze the potential for future local water reliance and resilience, we used systems analysis of urban water management in metropolitan LA County to assess opportunities for increasing local water reliance. We developed a detailed network flow model to investigate management tradeoffs across engineered, social, and environmental systems.

The model and its underlying data have been used to produce 11 peer-reviewed studies. Model outputs and methods have also informed numerous regional studies and plans, including:
- the LA County Sustainability Plan,
- UCLA's Los Angeles Environmental Report Card,
- the Santa Monica Groundwater Sustainability Plan's evaluation of integrated basin management options,
- California's Fourth Climate Change Assessment (Los Angeles Regional section).

The model is a product of the California Center for Sustainable Communities at UCLA.

Cast and Crew:
Erik Porse, Stephanie Pincetl, Katie Mika, Mark Gold, Madelyn Glickfeld, Eric Fournier, Kartiki Naik, Terri Hogue, Kimberly Manago, Diane Pataki, Liza Litvak

What's In This Repository?
The repository contains source code, data, and a descriptive manual of the model.

This work was supported by the Water Sustainability, & Climate Program at the National Science Foundation (NSF Award # 1204235), the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation, and the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation.

Citing the Model:
Porse, E. (2022). Artes: Modeling Water Resources Management in Los Angeles, HydroShare,

Research Studies:
Porse, Erik C., Kathryn B. Mika, Alvar Escriva-Bou, Eric Fournier, Kelly T. Sanders, Edward Spang, Jennifer Stokes-Draut, Felicia Federico, Mark Gold, and Stephanie Pincetl. “Systems Analysis of Energy Use for Urban Water Management by Utilities and Households in Los Angeles”. Environmental Research Communications. 2020: 2.1

Porse, Erik and Stephanie Pincetl. (2018). “Effects of Stormwater Capture and Use on Urban Streamflows.” Water Resources Management. 33.2 (2019): 713-723.

Porse, Erik. (2019). "Merging Network Governance and Systems Analysis for Urban Water Management." Civil Engineering and Environmental Systems. 2019: 1-19.

Pincetl, Stephanie, Thomas W. Gillespie, Diane E. Pataki, Erik Porse, Shenyue Jia, Erika Kidera, Nick Nobles, Janet Rodriguez, and Dong-ah Choi. (2019) "Evaluating the effects of turf-replacement programs in Los Angeles." Landscape and Urban Planning. 185: 210-221.

Pincetl, Stephanie, Erik Porse, Kathryn B. Mika, Elizabeth Litvak, Kim Manago, Kartiki Naik, Terri Hogue, Mark Gold, Tom Gillespie, and Diane Pataki. (2018). “Adapting Urban Water Systems to Manage Scarcity in the 21st Century: The Case of Los Angeles.” Environmental Management. 63.3. pgs 293-308

Porse, E., Mika, K. B., Williams, R., Gold, M., Blomquist, W., & Pincetl, S. (2018). “Groundwater Exchange Pools and Urban Water Supply Sustainability: Modeling Directed and Undirected Networks.” Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, 144(8)

Porse, Erik, Kathryn B. Mika, Elizaveta Litvak, Kimberly F. Manago, Terri S. Hogue, Mark Gold, Diane E. Pataki, and Stephanie Pincetl. (2018). “The Economic Value of Local Water Supplies in Los Angeles.” Nature Sustainability, May.

Porse, Erik. (2018). “Open Data and Stormwater Infrastructure in Los Angeles: Implications for Green Infrastructure and Sustainability”. Local Environment. 1-13.

Porse, Erik C., Kathryn B. Mika, Elizabeth Litvak, Kim Manago, Kartiki Naik, Madelyn Glickfeld, Terri Hogue, Mark Gold, Diane Pataki, and Stephanie Pincetl. (2017). “Systems Analysis and Optimization of Local Water Supplies in Los Angeles.” Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management. 143(9).

Pincetl, Stephanie, Erik C. Porse, and Deborah Cheng (2016). “Fragmented Flows: Water Supply in Los Angeles County”. Environmental Management. 58(2). Pg. 208-222

Porse, Erik C., Madelyn Glickfeld, Keith Mertan, and Stephanie Pincetl. (2015) “Pumping for the Masses: Evolution of Groundwater Rights in Metropolitan Los Angeles.” Geojournal.

Subject Keywords



Coordinate System/Geographic Projection:
WGS 84 EPSG:4326
Coordinate Units:
Decimal degrees
Place/Area Name:
Los Angeles, CA


Start Date:
End Date:


Additional Metadata

Name Value
GIS Repository of shape files used in building the link-node network of the model. Shape files of watersheds derived from the WMMS model. Shape files of LA County water retailers represented in the model and mapped on the The LA Water Hub, with associated data (primarily from 2010 Urban Water Management Plans). Includes shape files for both water retailers and MWD member agencies. Some agencies are members of both data sets.
Data Databases with model data inputs for three model variations: maximizing flows from local sources (Porse et al, 2017), simulating groundwater exchange pools (Porse et al, 2017), and minimizing total costs (Porse et al, 2018). Data files are named according to scenario parameters, For instance, for the max_flows scenario, databases include full demands and full historic imported water supplies (LASM_Data_D100_S100). The second includes full demands and no imported water (LASM_Data_D100_S0). The third includes agreesive conservation and no imported water supplies (LASM_Data_SP_S0). More documentation available in the manual and the JWRPM study describes development of methods and results. Example output files, which can be copied to a local folder for output. The script searches for existing output files and will return an error without them. The folder sp_scenario shows output files for the Sustainability Planning scenario presented in Porse (2017). Historic data, used in calibrating or populating the model. This includes data for wastewater treatment and reuse plants and LA County stormwater capture basins, along with an analysis of historical and current pumping rights in groundwater basins (see Porse et al, 2015, Geojournal). Source credits are provided in the model manual and documentation.
Manual Documentation on model operations, development, and workflow (Updated August 2019)
Hydrology Scripts and data derived from the LA County WMMS model, which provides hydrologic inputs and is used for calibrating optimization in Artes.
Code and Scripts - Model source code, including multiple versions used in studies for applications maximizing local sources, minimizing costs, and simulating groundwater exchange pools. Scripted in Python, the code builds the model, interacts with the solver, and manages inputs and outputs. (, for example). Scripts for aggregating sub-watersheds from the WMMS hydrologic model to the sub-watershed zones used in Artes (Located in Hydrology folder). R scripts for plotting watershed and wastewater treatment plant outflows for comparing and calibrating (Plots.r)
What's In This Repository? The repository contains the model's manual, code, hydrology files for LA County, model input data, and GIS files

Related Resources

This resource has been replaced by a newer version Porse, E. (2023). Artes: Modeling Water Resources Management in Los Angeles, HydroShare,


Funding Agencies

This resource was created using funding from the following sources:
Agency Name Award Title Award Number
National Science Foundation Water Sustainability, & Climate Program Award 1204235
John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation

How to Cite

Porse, E. (2022). Artes: Modeling Water Resources Management in Los Angeles, HydroShare,

This resource is shared under the Creative Commons Attribution CC BY.


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