Fully integrated hydrological modelling

Analyse groundwater, surface water, recharge and evapotranspiration processes with the most advanced and flexible framework for integrated hydrological modelling


Get insight into feedbacks and interactions across the entire hydrologic cycle

MIKE SHE is built on coupled physics-based models for overland flow, unsaturated flow, groundwater flow, and fully dynamic channel flow, including all their complex feedbacks and interactions. MIKE SHE also includes processes such as vegetation-based evapotranspiration, irrigation, snowmelt and water quality.

Hydrologic processes simulated in MIKE SHE
MIKE SHE users can better align surface water-groundwater exchange with local variation not captured in coarser model discretizations

New options for modeling surface water-groundwater exchange in steep topography

In river basins with steeper topography, local variation in the subsurface around rivers and streams may not be captured by cell-averaged topography. Two new features in MIKE SHE help modelers align surface water-groundwater exchange with local variation not captured in coarser model discretisations. The first option enables limiting the exchange to the upper-most saturated zone layer, to account for local changes in layers around streams. The second option enables limiting the accompanying driving head calculation to the width of the uppermost layer, thus reducing the overestimation of head differences.

Manage your irrigation potential

MIKE SHE’s land-use and irrigation modules allow you to evaluate your agricultural operation and help you optimized your irrigation management. You can calculate plant stress and the soil water balance to analyze your ability to meet crop water requirements.
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See how MIKE SHE supports intelligent irrigation

MIKE SHE allows you to integrate drainage water management operations into your model

Include fully dynamic operation and control of surface water in your catchment model

Most rivers, reservoirs and canals are managed to reduce downstream flooding, maximise power generation and control water levels. An optimum control strategy depends on a solid understanding of upstream hydrology.

Customise your model and couplings

MIKE SHE opens the door to more complex studies of all aspects of eco-hydrology including multi-species and kinetic reactions using MIKE ECO Lab. You can use Python scripts to modify the process models. You can study two-way, subsurface infiltration and leakage in storm water collection systems by coupling MIKE SHE with MIKE+.
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Integrated surface water-groundwater model of a riparian wetland on Fyn, Denmark

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Fertilizer application and nutrient transport through the ground into the greater water cycle

Gain insights into nutrient transport

Better understand how nutrients move through the environment – at the watershed or field scale. This will give you unparalleled insight into nutrient flow and concentration – from soil seepage to groundwater supply.

More accurately analyse inflow and infiltration by integrating seasonal groundwater data

Seasonal variations in groundwater levels can significantly impact various processes, including wastewater management, stormwater control, and water quality assessments. To address these challenges effectively, the integration of seasonal groundwater data becomes essential. By seamlessly coupling your MIKE+ Collection System (CS) networks with MIKE SHE, you can unlock a more comprehensive understanding of how these seasonal fluctuations influence your systems and make informed decisions for sustainable and resilient operations.

More accurately assess seasonal groundwater variations

MIKE SHE provides unique insight into a wide range of water resources and environmental concerns

Water Resources

Create integrated hydrological, hydraulic and water quality assessments for water supply management and vulnerability mapping.

Agriculture & Irrigation

Assess the quantity of groundwater and surface water for irrigation and drought management, as well as the fate and transport of pesticides and nutrients.


Create holistic flood management plans for riverine, pluvial and groundwater flooding that also account for land use and climate change.

Rivers & Dams

Develop robust control strategies for river and reservoir management that include rainfall-runoff, flooding, forecasting and even water quality.

Wetland Management & Restoration

Quantify the integrated impacts of land use, as well as groundwater and surface water management, on wetland quality and restoration plans.

Environmental Resource Management

Integrate holistic catchment management into your evaluations of risk assessment and ecosystem status.


Develop proactive strategies to manage the quantity and quality of surface water and groundwater – both on your mine site and in the regional catchment.

No in-house modellers?

Get our expert modellers on board for your consulting projects either as a partner, to provide extended user support or for model and project reviews.

See why customers rely on MIKE SHE for their most important studies

MIKE SHE is the result of decades of continuous software development. It is designed and used by engineers for practical water resources engineering. MIKE SHE is not an obscure research code. It has a proven track record in thousands of engineering projects in all climates around the world – from the arid western United States and oil sands in Canada to the Okavango Delta in Botswana and water supply catchments of Sydney, Australia.


Additional capabilities & unique features

It’s now possible to model water quality when using flood codes to simulate floodplain inundation. Flood code cells can exchange solutes with overland flow and groundwater (saturated zone). Using this feature, users can take advantage of the simplicity of using flood codes in water quality studies, reducing model setup and run times and increasing project efficiency.

MIKE SHE’s new lightweight result files (.sheres) help users save space when running operational systems with frequent hotstart simulations by containing only the data required for subsequent simulations.

Save time and improve your modelling workflows using MIKE Zero’s upgraded editors and viewers. Take advantage of new keyboard shortcuts and themes, improved tabbing, tear off and cascade functionality plus easier access to User Guides and Scientific Documentation.

With easy access to processed data files directly from the Results Viewer, additional loading and configuration steps are eliminated. Plus, MIKE SHE users can take advantage of more options here for inspecting preprocessed data compared to the Grid Editor, which is optimised for editing not viewing.

To boost the quality of results, MIKE SHE irrigation modellers can now specify the spatial extent of each irrigation output reporting area for improved control over the default assumptions.

Log files are now available in the MIKE SHE editor to help users quickly identify issues with preprocessing and simulation runs. Avoid the use of a text editor and simply click on the Preprocessing tab for preprocessing logs and the Results tab for simulation logs.

MIKE Zero, DHI’s fully Windows integrated graphical user interface, is now better than ever! Enjoy easy access to new MIKE Cloud applications and Cloud-enhanced functionality, plus an extended set of MIKE tools within theme-based (rather than product-based) interactive workflows. Ensure important model components such as sources and structures stay at the forefront with a new interactive, customisable floating mapping window. Lastly, the updated tabbing functionality will help you work in a more organized and efficient manner.

You can now access MIKE SHE on Azure Marketplace, where you can start modelling in the cloud with no hardware limitation in four simple steps. Learn more

Let’s face it. Fully integrated models can be complex with confusing data requirements. MIKE SHE’s user interface has been design to remove as much of this complexity as possible. It is flexible enough for the most complex applications, yet remains easy-to-use for simpler ones. MIKE SHE’s workflow and dynamic navigation tree uses logical choices to help you build a model that conforms to your catchment conceptualization. You can speed up your workflow with a full range of pre-processing and post-processing tools.

With MIKE SHE, you have complete control. Each process can be solved at its own spatial and temporal scale. You can select only the relevant hydrological processes and simple or advanced numerical methods with parallelised solvers. All these choices depend on your study goals and the availability of relevant data.

MIKE SHE generates a wealth of insight into where water is and how it moves in your catchment. All these results are automatically created as time varying maps – depth of ponding, ET from roots, snow melt, irrigation deficit, water table elevation, etc.

One of MIKE SHE’s core strengths is its comprehensive and flexible water balance utility. This allows you to really dig into the details of how water moves from rainfall to runoff to infiltration to stream discharge on a local and catchment scale. In a fully integrated model, these processes often have surprising interactions and feedbacks that can impact planning decisions.

Unsaturated flow is a central process in MIKE SHE. Infiltration drives flooding, actual ET and groundwater recharge. MIKE SHE calculates 1D vertical infiltration based on fully distributed soil properties, land use and vegetation. Moisture transport in the unsaturated zone is highly variable both spatially and temporally, and is controlled by capillarity. For example, vegetation can extract groundwater through capillarity even if the rootzone is well above the water table. At a catchment scale, 1D vertical is far superior to a 3D unsaturated flow calculation due to the vast increase in speed. While detail in the vertical dimension is far more important than lateral unsaturated flow across kilometres.

Groundwater flow is driven by recharge – the amount of infiltration reaching the water table. The amount and timing of recharge depends on rainfall and the depth to the water table, as well as intermediate losses to runoff and ET from the soil, the root zone and the water table. All of these processes can be simulated in MIKE SHE, allowing you to calculate detailed temporal and spatial distribution of recharge to groundwater.

Rainfall drives flooding, obviously. However, the speed, extent, and duration of flooding is often a function of the upstream moisture conditions in the catchment before the event. Looking just at a single rainfall event in isolation of the catchment context may lead to inaccurate conclusions, poor planning and in the worst case inadequate emergency response. MIKE SHE is a continuous, whole-of-catchment model that can even use distributed, radar-rainfall data. You can calibrate the model to both dry and wet season responses, giving you increased reliability during all storm events. MIKE SHE models have been operationalize around the world for on-line, continuous flood forecasting.

Defining the distribution of vegetation parameters depends on the type of data you have available. In simple cases, this can be a GIS map with a time series. Increasingly, vegetation is defined by a time series of satellite images. MIKE SHE supports the entire range of vegetation complexity.

Snow melt can dramatically affect the timing and volume of spring runoff. MIKE SHE converts elevation-corrected precipitation to wet and dry snow storage, with subsequent melting a function of air temperature. MIKE SHE’s flexible snow melt module has been used in cold climates around the world for reservoir operation and flood management.

Use MIKE SHE with MIKE ECO Lab to simulate fully integrated fate and transport of multi-species reactive solutes in surface water and the subsurface including interactive decay, sorption, precipitation and selective uptake. For example, clients have used MIKE SHE to study the integrated impact of nutrient application in rural areas on eutrophication of downstream lakes.

You can use MIKE SHE to define risk-based source water protection areas using 3D transient particle tracking in the groundwater. MIKE SHE’s random walk particle tracking module is ideally suited for complex, transient simulations with interacting well fields.

All numerical engines in MIKE SHE are parallelised to make efficient use of available multicore resources. Speed up your workflow with access to a full range of pre-processing and post-processing tools.

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