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A Model Planning Decision

City Council used hydraulic analysis study to coordinate land use and utilities for a more cost-effective future in Nampa, Idaho

A successful decision-support system for concurrent planning depends on knowing what tools are available for analysis and having experience in how to use those tools effectively. Computer models offer an excellent basis for developing information and testing decisions affecting both long-range land use planning and its associated infrastructure.   The City of Nampa, Idaho (located 15 miles west of Boise) successfully combined revision of its comprehensive land use plan and sewer and water systems planning, with the assistance of JUB Engineers.

Project Scoping

Nampa, population 25,000, was due to revise its land use plan. When the Nampa city council first began the process of updating their comprehensive land use plan, they wanted to know how the land use decisions would potentially impact utilities.

JUB Engineers were selected to undertake both the water and sewer system elements of the planning process. JUB Engineers had considerable experience in similar projects throughout central Idaho and understood what the city wanted to accomplish with the project. George Wagner, JUB project manager from the Boise office, described the scope of the project as reflecting the city council’s exemplary “vision and foresight.”

Modeling and Analysis

JUB Engineers created maps for both the current system and the planned updated system. Records were collected on inverts and pipes. Topographic maps and current aerial photographs were used to define service areas and to perform a land-use inventory to define existing land use.

HYDRA® was a natural choice for analytical software for the collection system, as JUB Engineers have used HYDRA on many modeling project throughout central Idaho since the mid-1980’s. Nampa’s existing system was modeled first, in order to calibrate the model and check flow measurements. After the sewer model was up and running, proposed land use changes and the associated extended sewer system was input. Location and timing of future trunk problems were identified and costs for necessary modifications were estimated for the proposed land use using HYDRA.

Decisions and Planning

By planning their utilities and land use concurrently, the city council was able to balance land-use decisions with long-term infrastructure management costs. “HYDRA made the analysis easy to view and understand. Policy-makers were able to readily understand the ramifications of their decisions and see the impact of land-use decisions,” said project manager George Wagner.  

The results of the sewer analysis did influence the city council’s decisions. The model showed, for example, that new development on the east side of town would have required large-scale improvements to the trunk system. The city council opted to move the land use to another area of the city, preventing costly infrastructure improvements in the future. 

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