Model Description

CE-QUAL-W2 is a water quality and hydrodynamic model in 2D (longitudinal-vertical) for rivers, estuaries, lakes, reservoirs and river basin systems. W2 models basic eutrophication processes such as temperature-nutrient-algae-dissolved oxygen-organic matter and sediment relationships.

The current model release is Version 4.5 (see model history for details). The model release includes executables, source codes, and examples for the model and preprocessor. There is also a stand-alone V4 GUI preprocessor as part of the download package. There is a post-processor for W2 model output used since the V3.7 model by the DSI, Inc. group and an Excel macro utility that aids the model user in writing out files compatible with CE-QUAL-W2. A model blog on updates and fixes, the current User Manual, and release notes which document all model changes are included below. Model Versions 3.1, 3.2, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7, 4.0, 4.1, and 4.2 are no longer supported but are available from the download page. There are about 3-4 model downloads/day from around the world and about 10-30 visitors to the web site/day.

Model Capabilities: Longitudinal-vertical hydrodynamics and water quality in stratified and non-stratified systems, nutrients-dissolved oxygen-organic matter interactions, fish habitat, selective withdrawal from stratified reservoir outlets, hypolimnetic aeration, multiple algae, epiphyton/periphyton, zooplankton, macrophyte, CBOD, sediment diagenesis model (Version 4),and generic water quality groups, internal dynamic pipe/culvert model, hydraulic structures (weirs, spillways) algorithms including for submerged and 2-way flow over submerged hydraulic structures, dynamic shading algorithm based on topographic and vegetative cover.

Model Limitations: Well-mixed in lateral direction (but can be used in a Quasi-3-D mode by use of additional model branches), hydrostatic assumption for vertical momentum equation.

Download the Model

Last Updated: August 30, 2021

W2 Model Fact Sheet

W2 blog about model updates and changes in the code from Scott Wells

Problems with the website?: Contact Dr. Chris Berger

Note: The W2 Users Forum is located at

Learn more about the Water Quality Research Group

Release notes for version 4.5 - Part 5 User Manual                CE-QUAL-W2 User Manual Version 4.5 - Part 1

If you would like to make a contribution to the Water Quality Group for supporting the model development, please follow this link to the PSU Foundation. Thank you in advance for your support.

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