I learned how to design drainage networks using a spreadsheet. It took some time, and creative use of color coding in Excel, but I somehow became capable of understanding which pipes and areas were cumulatively contributing to each other, but it was disconnected to a physical representation of my site which was in AutoCAD or Land Desktop.
I was working with a model in Storm and Sanitary Analysis (former StormNET) and I noticed something interesting. If you select a junction and right-click, you can highlight all of the contributing subbasins.
This would have been extremely helpful for answering questions like- “Why is this pipe so big?” or “Where can I make changes to my impervious area to really make a difference in runoff?”
Another choice on that right-click menu is contributing links. It highlights all of the pipes that contribute to the flow at that node.
It really would have been nice to have a tool like this when working on things like drainage plans for Neighborhood Design Reports that I wrote about here..
Autodesk Storm and Sanitary Analysis is available for North American subscription customers of Civil 3D and Map 3D. You can download SSA at www.autodesk.com/subscription, and learn more about SSA, including demonstration videos, here.
You might also want to read: Moving Civil 3D Pipe Networks to Autodesk Storm and Sanitary Analysis.