Explanation of the criteria for classification and numbering of components K35.2.06
(DEC 99)
Explanation of the dates on the component's description



1.   Purpose and objectives

     The program WSPRO computes water-surface profiles for subcritical, critical, or supercritical flow as long as the flow can be reasonably classified as one-dimensional, gradually-varied, steady flow. WSPRO can be used to analyse (1) open-channel flow, (2) flow through bridges (single or multiple openings), (3) flow through culverts, (4) embankment overflow (5) floodway analysis and (7) bridge scour. 

2.   Description

     The program was developed primarily for evaluating the effects of  backwater from existing stream crossings or evaluating alternative bridge openings and/or embankment configurations. The program is applicable to water-surface profile analysis for highway design as well as problems related to floodplain mapping and developing stage-discharge relations. The data input scheme is generally designed for unformatted, order- independent data with the provision of propagation of constant data and limited capabilities for synthesising cross sections.  Open-channel computations use standard step-backwater computational techniques. Single-opening bridge backwater free-surface flow uses an energy-balancing 
technique that uses a coefficient of discharge (a function of flow characteristics and bridge geometry) and estimates of effective flow length that accounts for the conveyance characteristics of the bridge opening and the upstream valley cross section. Pressure flow uses orifice-type flow equations developed by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)(Bradley, 1970). Flow through culverts uses FHWA computational techniques as summarised by Shearman and others (1986). Embankment (road) overflow uses the broad-crested weir equation. 

3.   Input

     Input data consists of coordinate data defining the cross-sectional shape of the channel, roughness coefficients, flow lengths, discharges, starting water-surface elevations, subarea breakpoints, bridge and culvert geometry and program-control parameters.  The initial boundary condition is either the water-surface elevation or energy gradient at either end (downstream for subcritical flow, upstream for supercritical flow) of the study reach for the specified discharge.  If it is not specified, WSPRO 
defaults to the water-surface elevation for critical flow.  Input can be in Metric or English units.

4.   Output

     WSPRO generates output describing the processing of the input data and the results of all profile computations.  Tables of cross-sectional properties and/or velocity and conveyance distributions are available except for embankments and culverts. Cross-sectional plots can be produced in digital and line-printer formats. Tables of selected parameters can be defined by the user to produce a specific output format. WSPRO has 55 computed parameters that may be used to build an output table. Output can be in Metric or English units.

5.   Operational requirements and restrictions

     WSPRO is written in Fortran and has been used on a wide variety of personal computers, workstations, minicomputers, and mainframe computers. Generally it is easily installed on any computer platform.  A pre- and post-processing program, written in the C programming language, is 
available for use on DOS-based computers with at least a 386 processor and  math coprocessor. This program facilitates input preparation and analysis of results using visual display and editing of model parameters and results. 

6.   Form of presentation

     Program is distributed on a 3 1/2" floppy diskette or via the Internet. A users manual, written in English, is available (Shearman, 1990).

7.   Operational experience

     Extensive use within the United States.

8.   Originator and technical support

     U.S. Geological Survey, Office of Surface Water, Reston, Virginia, USA

9.   Availability

     From the HOMS National Reference Centre for USA for 3 1/2" floppy or printed documentation; or electronically on the Internet at

10.  Conditions on use

     Program is available free of charge; there is a charge for documentation.


Bradley, J.N., 1970, Hydraulics of bridge waterways. U.S. Federal Highway Administration Hydraulic Design Series No. 1, 111 p.

Shearman, J. O., Kirby, W. H., Schneider, V. R., and Flippo, H. N., 1986, Bridge waterway and analysis model; Research report. U.S. Federal Highway Administration Report No. FHWA/RD-86/108, 112 p.

Shearman, J. 0., 1990, User's manual for WSPRO - A computer model for water surface profile computations. U.S. Federal Highway Administration Report FHWA-IP-89-027, 177 p. 

(First entered:30 JAN 81

Last updated: 28 NOV 94)