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Poll - Pond Routing Software

Poll - Pond Routing Software

Poll - Pond Routing Software

Hello All,

I am a PE in Pennsylvania. Our firm is looking to upgrade our stormwater software, particularly the pond routing program. We currently use Hastead Pondpack, however it is a very old version. I am looking for recommendations on pond routing software. What pond routing software do you use? Any major advantages or disadvantages? What software do you recommend?


RE: Poll - Pond Routing Software

I have mainly used Hydraflow Hydrographs, which is very simple and easy to use and reasonably well respected.  

SWMM is much more complicated (and powerful), and comes with the added bonus of being free with good documentation.  Similarly for HEC-HMS/HEC-RAS.  I have tried to use HEC-RAS to model a culvert for stream crossing, and found that Hydraflow Hydrographs gave a more palatable answer for the small creek.  This was probably because Hydraflow uses "3D" modeling of stage/storage/discharge calculations, while HEC-RAS uses 1D.

My experience with Haestad Methods software is limited to SewerCAD and much less experience with WaterCAD.  It doesn't help that it's expensive software with even more expensive support, which is essential given the limited documentation they provide.  I'll avoid Haestad Methods 'til my dying day, even if Bentley can resurrect the software.  If you use Microstation, however, you might consider sticking by Haestad software, at least on a low-end, no-support license, just in case Bentley can work magic with it.

RE: Poll - Pond Routing Software

I use HydroCad (www.hydrocad.net) for simple projects and ICPR (www.streamnologies.com) for anything beyond Hydrocad.  

ICPR utilizes conservation of mass and can model backwater, reverse flows, pumps, tidal.  I often deal with interconnected ponds in flat areas which seem to cause problems in other programs.

I had used Pondpack back with version 2 or so.  A few years ago I tried the newest version at the time and had trouble getting suitable results in my test model.  I contacted support once or twice...but did give up on it.  I feel it shouldn't have been that difficult...since I had no problem with the model in ICPR.

RE: Poll - Pond Routing Software

I mainly use PondPack for more intense/large studies.  The report output is well organized and very easy to follow.  Basically you could submit a cover letter and report with out much else info necessary for comprehension.  It seems that the software can take a long time to perform calcs though on large models.  It does ICPR and detention estimations.  I recently had the latest version v10 installed.  There have been some improvements made since the version you are running.  I think starting with v9 things got a little better.  I have had several problems with the software but most have been due to our operating system and printers.  In v10 they have added some new features that were not previously available.  You can now copy and paste nodes which is a very basic feature they have needed for awhile.

I also use Hydraflow Hydrographs 2004.  It is better than the previous versions of Hydraflow but not that great at converting old projects.  It is much easier to use than PondPack and quicker on the calcs.  I mainly use it on sites with one detention pond.  The report it generates is not as good as the report PondPack generates.

In the past I have also used an older version of AutoCAD's Eagle Point software.  It was pretty easy to use and edit.  It also generated a nice report and was quick with calcs.  It also had the ability to produce nice hydrographs which were easy to print through ACAD.  You could even zoom in on the peaks and  the axes would adjust themselves.  This proved to be a very useful tool when making an argument that no detention is needed because of a site being so low in the watershed.

RE: Poll - Pond Routing Software

sam74 (Civil/Environme) 22 Dec 05 10:12  
"...PondPack...report output is well organized and very easy to follow."?

I do municipal reviews.  I DREAD getting a Pondpak report to review.  Pages and pages of useless information, then, hidden within it, the actual data you need...Tc, CN, Qin Qout,etc.

I use HydroCAD for my own designs, because it is easy to use (I didn't even need the free manual or tutorials), very reasonably priced.

I also prefer to review reports from HydroCAD to any other software - and this should factor into your decision, the easier the review, the quicker it is for me to approve. Routed devices are depicted in a 'flow-chart' type narrative, all characteristics of storage and outlets are on one page with this depiction, along with water surface, Qpeak, etc.  Hydrology is just as straight-forward: CN, Tc, then hydrograph.  Backup info is tucked in one paragraph, but out of the way.

Remember: The Chinese ideogram for “crisis” is comprised of the characters for “danger” and “opportunity.”

RE: Poll - Pond Routing Software

Well yeah, if you print the entire gob of useless info available for the PondPack report it can be hard to follow.  I would only submit the Report Summary, Pond Volume Area/Elevation, and Outlet Structure reports.  At the start of the report is an index detailing specific sheets and sections where the info is contained and you can also print the flow chart from the working window to aid in the comprehension.

I don't know what items you are recieving in the reports submitted to you but a lot of the available items are of great help to the designer.  They probably are not of any use to the reviewer.  Maybe the designer is trying to baffle you with BS or is a little green.

Most of the different softwares are very similar on input but some area easier than others to navigate.

I recently downloaded the free sample of the HydroCad software at home to play with.  I have not spent enough time figuring everything out but I did like the hydrograph plots with the CN and Tc shown.  I also liked the splash sound it does when you calculate.  Maybe gabbot should click on the big yellow ad at the top of the page and try it out.  Is there a way to do multiple calcs?  It seemed like you had to click on each icon in order to calculate.

RE: Poll - Pond Routing Software


There are two basic ways to do "multiple calcs" with HydroCAD.  It depends what you're looking for.

1) When you make changes to any part of the project, any open reports are immediately updated.  The key is to leave the report window(s) open as you make the changes.  You do NOT have to close and reopen the reports.  This makes it very easy to try different variations on a design.  Just click the Edit buttom, make the changes, and click Apply or OK.

2) To print multi-event reports, make sure each of the events is defined on the Rainfall tab of the calculation settings screen.  When you select Print|Report you will be able to include any or all of the events in the printed report.  You can also use the options on the Settings|Export screen to create a spreadsheet with mulit-event data.

BTW: HydroCAD will handle most (if not all) of the ICPR routing capabilities, including tailwater/backwater, reverse flows, and tidal situations.  It also has a number of unique pond modeling features, such as underground storage chamber calculations and vortex outlet control valves.

RE: Poll - Pond Routing Software

I'm another hydrocad user, and I am quite pleased at the ease of use and the ability to relate the parameters I need to provide in a submittal in a very clear fashion.

I have not tried many other software packages, and my experience with them (notably hec-ras) was fiddling around on my own.  Frustrating, and short lived.  I went back to hydrocad quickly after that.

Shane Mullen, Staff Engineer
Llewellyn-Howley Incorporated

RE: Poll - Pond Routing Software

I'll add my voice to the naysayers of PondPack, unless you have deep pockets and lots of patience.  The yearly "Select" maintenance program Bentley/Haestad offers is nearly as much as buying new software every year from other vendors.

RE: Poll - Pond Routing Software

I use Hydraflow Hydrographs and it is great for ponds that are not connected.  The reports are easy to generate and are pleasing to the eye (and I hope the reviewer).  For more complex jobs I use XPSWMM.  I try not to use this because it is not user friendly and the reports arent that great looking.  It is very powerful though: it models backwater, flow can move backwards in pipes.  Best of all you model the interior pipes and the detention pond in one system.  With hydraflow I model them seperate.  First I  design the pond (SCS method) and get the peak water elevation.  Then I design the pipes going into the pond with the rational method.  With xpswmm it is hard to know how to size the pipes since the water moves backwards and forwards in interconnected ponds.  I use a trial and error method and check HGL but there has to be a better way.  I am very open to suggestions.

RE: Poll - Pond Routing Software

Good Day,

Sorry for the slightly off-topic question, but does Hydraflow Hydrographs 2004 allow you to enter data in metric units ?  I've read their literature online and they specifically mention English or SI units as an "output feature".  Also, some of the sample screenshot windows seems to have a "Metric" toggle button.  All of the screenshots showing input data are in English units.

So, is metric input available ?


RE: Poll - Pond Routing Software

I have modeled connected ponds using Hydraflow Hydrographs.  It is time consuming because you have to model them in two or three ways.  For two connected ponds, A and B, you need to model A draining into B, then B draining into A, and then A and B merely sharing volume and draining out of the downstream pond.  The trick to doing this is by combining hydrographs in various combinations, (A outflow + B inflow; A inflow + B outflow; A inflow + B inflow) and creating a new pond with combined stage-storage volumes.

Where ponds are joined by a ditch, use the Reach function.  Getting times of concentration right is important, of course.

I once modeled six interconnected ponds using Hydraflow Hydrographs, and managed it (pre- and post-developed) with about 30 hydrograph/route/add hydrograph calculations.

RE: Poll - Pond Routing Software


This is straight out of the help info out of the 2004 version

 Hydraflow primarily works in English units. However, you can output your reports in English or metric (SI) units. In addition, the on-screen graphs can be viewed and printed in either units.  

It seems to me that before the 2004 version you could work in metric apparently not anymore.

RE: Poll - Pond Routing Software

Thanks sam74,

I had a feeling this might be the case.  

RE: Poll - Pond Routing Software

I use several, mainly win Tr-20 ,Hec1, and Hec-HMS since these can be check readily by reviewing agencies.

RE: Poll - Pond Routing Software

We used to use PondPack, but due to Bentley's policies on subscriptions (they were requiring us to buy annual support for 2 unused microstation seats that we own or relinquish the seats) we dumped them like a bad habit (extortion?). We now use Hydaflow Hydrdographs. Very easy to use and reasonably priced. Not all the bells and whistles but it does what we need it to, mostly stormwater detention ponds and tanks. I especially like the feature where you can revise the orifice size/elevation and immediately see the results of outflow/elevation. Saves alot of time not having to run multiple iterations like PondPack.

RE: Poll - Pond Routing Software

Anybody use Win TR-55 or EPA SWMM 5.0?  I just downloaded both today and was wondering if they are worth learning.

Thanks in advance.

RE: Poll - Pond Routing Software

EPA SWMM is very powerful, but not straight-forward to learn.  You'd need to spend time on it.  I would love to learn it, but I've never found the time.

RE: Poll - Pond Routing Software


I've used the WinTR-55 before, and it is pretty easy to use.  I used it in preliminary calcs of floodplain analysis, and I loved the fact that it gives you the option to output results in a TR-20 input form.  I have found that calculating your CN values and your Tc values in WinTR-55 and then transferring this data into WinTR-20 is much easier than just doing it in the somewhat jumbled WinTR-20 interface.  And it really helps if you have to add onto a older TR-20 file (fortran) and are unable to use the WinTR-20 version (which calculates using a different than the older version.  Sorry for rambling off topic, hope that helps.

RE: Poll - Pond Routing Software

HYDROCAD is a very intuitive program and is very reasonably priced.  I can't imagine paying the ridiculous price for the Haestad product! HydraFlow is fine, but once you use HYDROCAD its hard to go back to anything else.

Unfotunately our local plan reviewers use HEC-1 to check all detention designs. It's easy to design a basin with HYDROCAD then put the data into HEC-1.  To aid in review we typically include both HYDROCAD and HEC-1 output. If you have this issue (using HEC-1) try HydroPro by Dodson.  It's a great editor with excellent output options.

RE: Poll - Pond Routing Software

Funny that a reviewer is requiring a software which, according to its own creator, has been obsolete for nearly a decade (Date of Last Program Release: June 1998):


Does this reviewer know that - per USACOE HEC1 User’s Manual - "The model is limited to single event analysis and routing techniques do not account for downstream backwater conditions."

Or that - per USACOE  HEC1 User’s Manual - "The current version, 1998, is anticipated to be the final release of HEC-1. Future hydrology model development efforts will be directed towards the successor to HEC-1, the Hydrologic Modeling System (HEC-HMS)."

You might let the reviewer know these very important, although by no means newly discovered, limitations.  Perhaps, even if that reviewer chooses not to join the 21st century, he might see fit to not punish other design professionals who do.

Engineering is the practice of the art of science - Steve

RE: Poll - Pond Routing Software

Lots of great posts on this forum.  We have been using PondPack, but since we are a small firm we have been looking for a less-expensive alternative without losing capability.  Also, PondPack seems needlessly complicated.  From what I have read here, Hydraflow Hydrographs seems like it may be just what we are looking for.  Unfortunately they do not offer any sort of demo!  Any more posts on the relative merits of these two software packages would be appreciated.

RE: Poll - Pond Routing Software

I don't believe the Corps says that HEC-1 is obsolete, simply that it is no longer under development.  It is a very useful tool for many projects and likely will continue to be used for the forseeable future.  However, it is unfortunate that a reviewer is unable to review without HEC-1.  I would be curious to see if anything in the city ordinance actually specifies that "thou shall use HEC-1 or thou will'st not be issued thine permit..."  

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