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Hydraulic Analysis Using HEC-RAS

10 Steps
for a Basic HEC-RAS Analysis

HEC-RAS: 10 Steps
1. Start a New HEC-RAS Project 2. Set Up the River Reach 3. Plan Cross-Sections 4. Enter Cross-Section Data 5. Add the Road Deck 6-culvert. Add the Culvert Data 6-bridge. Add the Bridge Data 7. Add Ineffective Flow Areas 8. Input Steady Flow Data 9. Run Model, View Output 10. Add Proposed Structure

HEC-RAS: 10 Steps These 10 steps can be used with simple culvert and bridge analyses. This approach will help you get familiar with HEC-RAS and ready for more complex projects. To download HEC-RAS. Before using HEC-RAS for your project. (Search HEC-RAS). you will need to collect the following cross-sectional information: • • • • channel shape (from maps or field measurement) stream slope (from maps or field measurement) structure specifications flow data (get from DEQ – Hydrologic Studies) . go to the US Army Corps of Engineers web site.

CMP.00 • • Proposed Culvert: – – – Length– 54’. Concrete Elliptical.32’.20 Width of road: 18 feet Stream bottom sandy but stony Stream banks weedy with small brush Stream invert elevation 579.Sample Problem • • Replace an existing culvert with a larger culvert Issue: CRC wants to replace the existing culvert with a longer culvert. The proposed design increases the size of the culvert as well. Will the larger culvert offset the fact that the culvert will be longer? Existing Culvert: – – – – – – – Length-. 42” diameter Low point of road: el 588. 60”x38” Road elevations and width will remain the same .

. click on the File. In the New Project window. There are two main types of data to enter: Geometric Data. type in Title and File name (ex. describing the river channel setting and the structure. and Steady Flow data describing the water and flow characteristics.1. You end up back at the main window entitled HECRAS River Analysis System. Click OK. then New Project. in the main window. Simple Project and simpleproject. Start a New HEC-RAS Project.prj). • Open HEC-RAS. .

. click on Edit. then Geometric Data. Set Up the River Reach • In the main window.2.

Enter river name and reach name at the prompt. Set Up the River Reach • In the Geometric Data window. Click. click on the River Reach button. drag. . Don’t worry about meanders—just one line.2. The cursor becomes a pencil. double click. It helps to draw the stream in the same position as on a map with north at the top. Draw a line representing the stream in the direction of upstream to downstream.

• Add additional cross-sections to define the channel further upstream and downstream. Determine the length of the structure. then add a cross-section 2–5’ upstream and another 2-5’ downstream of structure. Numbering runs low to high from downstream to upstream. Use more cross-sections for irregular channels.3. Suggestion: Use negative numbers for downstream cross-sections and positive numbers upstream. figure out where to position the cross-sections. Plan Cross-Sections • First on a scratch paper. Suggestion: Put the structure centerline at 0. parallel to the river. • .

set up looking downstream. Suggestion: Use 0 for the center of the channel. negative numbers for the left side and positive numbers for the right side looking downstream. Plan Cross-Sections • • Next. it is quick to start with one cross-section and copy it and adjust it for the others. Numbering: Stations across the crosssection have lower numbers on the left.3. Each station position has a corresponding elevation.20 • Figure out the stream slope. sketch the channel cross-section showing stations and elevations. • If all of the cross-sections have the same or similar dimensions. # Road deck at 588. from field measurements or from a USGS quad map. (rise/run) .

• . Here. Choose “Add a new cross-section. the “station” is the position along the stream. You may want to start with the one that has the elevations given.” Enter the number of the cross-section you want to add. Enter Cross-Section Data • Click on the cross-section button.4. Click the Options button.

“station” means the position across the channel.4. Enter Cross-Section Data • Add the station/elevation (x/y) profile of the crosssection in the Crosssection XY Coordinates table. • . Here.

• • • • . When done. respectively. Contraction and Expansion coefficients: use 0. click on the “apply data” button. Put in Manning’s n value. If the channel is straight. the three numbers will be the same. Use standard n values found on many charts.4.3 and 0. Enter the channel banks locations (stations).5 are used.3. except just upstream and downstream of the structure where 0.1 and 0. Enter Cross-Section Data • Downstream reach lengths— distance from this crosssection to the next crosssection downstream. Outside and inside curve lengths create the meanders.

Calculate the change in cross-section elevations. Go to options. Copy: Copy the current crosssection to a new location then adjust the elevations to the slope. ex 30 to new location X slope of . In Options. either COPY the current cross-section to another location (easy) or ADD a new cross-section to another location. The entire cross-section will be adjusted down (-) or up (+). Modified copied cross-section: Copy and then adjust if much of the cross-section is similar.4. enter elevation change. Repeat until all cross-sections are added. Another time saver.12’. • • . Enter Cross-Section Data • • Add additional cross-sections. adjust elevations.004 is -. Add: Start from scratch each time.

close view by clicking on the x in the top right corner. It is suggested that you name it “existing” or “proposed.4.” • . Enter Cross-Section Data • Enter all cross-sections. This is a good time to save the Geometry Data.

.5. Add Road Deck Data • In the main Geometric Data window. click on the Bridg/Culv button. Under Options. In the Bridge/culvert Data window. click on Deck/Roadway. Enter station number (suggest 0). choose “Add a bridge or culvert”.

e. select OK. Put in as many points as it takes to describe the deck. enter the distance from the downstream edge of the deck to the next downstream cross-section. 0 at center. i. Add Road Deck Data • • In the top middle box.6. Deck cross-section should be as wide as channel cross-sections. Stations must correspond with channel stations. • • . enter width of the road deck. The weir coefficient can remain at 2. add cross-section stations and deck elevations (high chord). Copy up to down. Look at picture. In the left box. In the station and high chord columns of the table.5.

Fill in the span and diameter in feet as appropriate for culvert. The top right drop-down box will let you put in more than one culvert. Then Click Add Button. Add a Culvert • • • In the Bridge/Culvert Data menu. click on the Culvert button. leave as is. • . For the first culvert. Distance to upstream XS: fill in the distance from the end of the culvert to the next cross-section upstream. Shape: choose the type of culvert from the drop down box.6-culvert.

Centerline: Should be 0 if culvert is centered. Add a Culvert • Fill in the remaining boxes in the list. otherwise adjust for distance off-center. Use drop down boxes if values for coefficients and n are needed.) • . (Setting up cross-section with 0 at center makes this part easier.6-Culvert.

Add the underneath points of the bridge in the low chord column.6-Bridge. Additional rows may need to be inserted to define the bottom of the bridge. . The high chord defines the deck and the low chord defines the waterway opening (or underneath part of bridge). Add a bridge • Use the deck/roadway button to add the bridge information.

. • • • • .. ineffective flow areas should be entered. i.7. same as above but use 2:1 positioning. Ineffective Flow Areas • If the floodplain width coming into the structure is much wider than the opening. Add cross-sections if needed to define the ineffective flow areas.e. where water is slow or stagnant. for each foot distance from the cross-section to the structure. go one foot over from the edge of the structure. i. Upstream. Do the same for all cross-sections with ineffective flow until the with of the floodplain is reached. 2 feet out and 1 foot over.e. These are the areas outside the main flow. position the ineffective flow stations in the cross-sections in a 1:1 manner. Downstream.

then ineffective flow areas. Add stations from the sketch. Ineffective Flow Areas • In the cross-section data window. go to the cross-section that requires ineffective flow. Choose Options. this is set as the low point of the road deck.7. Elevation: Usually. • .

and other losses have been entered. . enter the flow information…. Next. including ineffective flow areas and contraction and expansion.Summary of Geometric Data Input • River channel has been defined • Structure placed in the river channel • Losses and structural constraints are added.

choose 2. go to Edit. Enter the number of profiles.8. Steady Flow Data • In main menu. for example. For just a 100-year flow. IN PF boxes. enter stream flows in cfs. • . then choose Steady Flow Data. to run both a 10-year and a 100-year flow. enter 1.

Known water surface. . Steady Flow Data • • • Reach boundary conditions: the two most common options to use are normal depth and known water surface. such as downstream lake. or other water body: Click on Known WS button and enter downstream water elevation. enter stream slope.8. Normal depth: Click Normal Depth button. dam impoundment.

then enter the short title which can be the same. Click on Compute. click on Run. • Address any errors that show up until plan runs.9. Run Model. choose File. In the Steady Flow Analysis menu. save plan. Flow 01 will be chosen automatically. Under file. Enter the title. such as “existing”. View Output • In main menu. New Plan. . then choose Steady Flow Analysis.

To change what is displayed on the table. • . choose View. choose Options. then either Plans or Profiles and select the items you would like to show up on the table. then Profile Summary Table. View Output • Look at the output table by going to the main menu.9. Run Model.

and compare the water surface elevations and energy grade lines of the existing and proposed projects. i. Save Geometry data.) Working in the newly created file. if new structure is longer.” Look at the table.e. add new cross-sections where needed. take out unnecessary structures. this time saving as “proposed. Choose Save Geometry Data As.10. Name the new file “proposed. select all the necessary plans and profiles. • • • . Add Proposed Structure • Use the cross-sections from the “existing” geometry file to make a new file. Run the model for the proposed structure as was done for the existing structure.” (Be sure to save the existing file before you do this.

Questions? .