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What is AutoCAD and WaterCAD in Water Engineer?

Isaac Ter Luony
related country: South Sudan
related country: South Sudan

Need to know the meaning of the two word in relation to water network on water distribution.

1 Answer


AutoCAD AutoCAD is a computer drafting (drawing) package which can be installed on any reasonably powerful PC or laptop. The letters CAD stand for Computer Aided Design. It has been around for about 30 years, being updated every one or two years and is published by a company called Autodesk. AutoCAD is pretty much the standard computer drawing package that is used throughout the world, with the exception of China and is normally used by CAD technicians working under the direction of an engineer. Many younger engineers also have some capability on AutoCAD.

The full version of AutoCAD is very expensive and these days has extensive features connected to 3D modeling etc. If you are looking at producing relatively simple 2D plans and drawings then AutoCAD LT is more than sufficient. You can get an AutoCAD LT subscription for US$380 per year and try a 30 day free trial through the following AutoDesk website.

An attractive alternative to AutoCAD LT is Draftsight 2017. The individual application is free to download whilst the subscription for the professional version is US$99 per year. I have not used the application myself but have heard good reviews about it. Please use the following link for more information and to download the application.

WaterCAD WaterCAD is a completely different application that is used to model water distribution networks. It is published by Bentley Systems Inc. and is one of the leading network modeling applications. Over the last decade or so the application has become more and more focused on integration with GIS (Graphical Information Systems) which nearly all water utilities in developed countries use to map their networks. This version is called WaterGEMS.

WaterCAD allows users to construct stand alone models from scratch and import drawings of networks prepared using AutoCAD and other drafting packages. If you have purchased the correct WaterCAD package then it can work from within AutoCAD.

The cost of purchasing WaterCAD varies depending on how many pipes you want to model. The version that will cover just 100 pipe comes to US$1141, not a low cost option. The following is a link to the WaterCAD section of the Bentley Systems website.

One alternative is Pipe2016, which is commonly referred to as KYPipe as it was originally developed by Civil Engineering professors from the University of Kentucky over 40 years ago. Free of cost educational versions of Pipe2016 which can model 50 or 100 pipes are available through the following link, together with a detailed manual and model examples.

Whilst it may not be as 'polished' as WaterCAD, Pipe 2016 is a powerful piece of software and 50 or 100 pipes is sufficient for modeling many development projects.

Another free of charge alternative to WaterCAD is EPANET 2, which was developed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (hence its name) over a decade ago. It is not as user ... (more)