The shortage of water in Mexico has made public and private institutions look at reservoirs as an alternative solution for present and future water supply. However, eighty percent of the existing reservoirs in Mexico are contaminated at some level, many severely. Water quality models are water-management tools used to diagnose water quality problems and the impact of various environmental conditions. They can be effective in assessing various measures of remediation leading to improved water quality. In most of the cases such water quality models have been successfully applied in reservoirs located in temperate climates. However, the use of water quality models in subtropical reservoirs, especially those in developing countries, have relatively little application because either basic data are not available or because they are not sufficient. In this study, a preliminary water quality model was developed for a subtropical reservoir to assess both the ability to collect adequate data and the model's underlying applicability in a subtropical region. The Aguamilpa reservoir is located in the western part of Mexico (Nayarit). It was built for power generation, irrigation and as a fishery. CE-QUAL-W2 is a two-dimensional hydrodynamic and water quality model suitable for long and narrow water bodies. Geometrically the Aguamilpa reservoir is long and deep, making it an ideal candidate to be modeled by CE-QUAL-W2. The model was developed for 1995 and 1996 because of a wider availability of historical data during this period. In addition to a preliminary model and assessment of applicability in this subtropical region, a monitoring and data acquisition plan was designed to identify the minimum required data which must be used to update, calibrate and simulate the water quality parameters. Once the model is calibrated, it may be used to simulate the water quality changes occurring with respect to environmental, climatological and anthropogenic effects. Further, the model may be used to prescribe operating procedures upstream as well as at the dam which can serve to improve the overall water quality. The development of the model at Aguamilpa can serve as a guideline for developing similar water quality models in this and other similar subtropical locations.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Civil and Environmental Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





CE-QUAL-W2, subtropical, Aguamilpa, modeling, reservoir