New Watauga Combined River Basin Model

Model Development Project Launch

In 2018, the North Carolina Division of Water Resources launched the hydrologic model development project for the combined New and Watauga River basins. The project's kickoff meeting was held in Boone, NC on April 10, 2018.

Need for a Hydrologic Model

Along the Watauga and New river basins, there are areas that have faced the challenges of existing limited resources and operational constraints to manage the river and to supply the basic water needs for the population residing within the High-Country region that is susceptible to seasonal variations of natural river flows due to mountainous terrain. Water use in the basin is split between ground water and surface water sources. The model will only cover the surface water use in the basin.

A computer model is a needed tool for evaluating surface water resources management in the basin. For long-term planning, the State uses the model for evaluating potential impacts of proposed projects with new or increased water withdrawals within the basin as well as interbasin transfer permit applications. Local units of government, as well as the State, can use the model to plan for increased water use due to growth and to evaluate the effects of operational and regulatory constraints during a drought condition.


OASIS, a patented, mass balance, water resources simulation/optimization model will be developed for the New Watauga river basins. The State currently has OASIS models in the Broad, Cape Fear, Neuse, Roanoke and Tar river basins. Currently, the French Broad River basin model is under development. This basinwide model uses a daily time step and includes surface water withdrawals and discharges greater than 100,000 gallons per day.

Background Information


April 10, 2018 Kick-Off Meeting Information

October 2, 2018 Model Development Meeting Information

December 11, 2019 Meeting #3 Model Training

Final Model Documents

Contact Information

How can I stay informed on the development of the model?

  • Subscribe to the DWR-New-Watauga stakeholders email list:  

  • Contact staff by email at:

If you would like access to the OASIS model after completion, contact Pam Behm or Neelufa Sarwar to request access to the model.