Reservoir Operation

The operation of a single reservoir for a single function does not present many analytical problems, but the same is not true when a reservoir fulfils a number of potentially conflicting objectives or where several reservoirs are operated conjunctively. Maximising the benefit of one or more reservoirs balances information on the likely resource against the multiple demands on it, while maintaining the safety of the dam(s) in times of severe flood. Sometimes, historical records are sufficient to define the resource reasonably well and design and operating criteria can be derived by simulation or optimisation techniques. In other cases, a stochastic approach might be needed to test the design criteria against an uncertain future resource.

Water Resource Associates has experience of many of these reservoir design and operational issues including:

  • Reservoir analysis for multiple objectives including irrigation, hydropower, urban and industrial water supply, and flood control;
  • Analysis of reservoirs in cascade or other network formation;
  • Derivation of optimal flood routing to maximise downstream benefits;
  • Operational changes in time to allow for alteration in the balance of priorities between irrigation and flood control;
  • Analysis and review of historical performance.
The form of analysis depends on the stage of the project from pre-feasibility through to operation, but WRA can respond with appropriate software. This includes simulation, probability matrix analysis, flood routing, and the use of standard software packages, such as HEC-5, and sophisticated mathematical approaches including dynamic programming, linear programming and multi-objective planning models. The AQUATOR (RESSIM) model, developed by WRA, has wide application in the UK.
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WRA Experience

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Severn-Trent Water, UK
WRA worked in two main areas. Firstly it was necessary to produce a long-term flow record for all the major surface resources. This was done using the HYSIM rainfall/runoff model. It built on work done earlier on the Trent but included updating simulation of the Trent basin and new simulation for the Severn and Wye basins. Secondly, using this data the RESSIM model was updated and modified to simulate all the surface resources of Severn-Trent. There is a high degree of inter-linking of the available resources and this demonstrated the ability of RESSIM to simulate complex water resource systems.
SNIFFER (Scotland and Northern Ireland Forum for Environmental Research)
The Company, together with Oxford Scientific Software, has in-house experience of software development in two key areas – catchment rainfall-runoff models and water resource system simulation. The HYSIM model would need some adaptation to accommodate recent scientific thinking and the RESSIM model applied in England would be developed further, with powerful new facilities enabling users to mould specific implementations, and renamed AQUATOR. These modification are in course of being completed.
China
Simulation modelling of a multi-reservoir system for the North Hainan Water Resources Development Project including irrigation, urban and industrial water supply and hydropower elements.
Pakistan
Reappraisal of the flood control operational strategy for Mangla Dam on the Jhelum river as part of an analysis of design flood levels for a protection bund for Jhelum City some distance downstream.
Pakistan
Review of the scope for rehabilitation of Bund Khushdil Khan, an off-stream irrigation reservoir built in the 1890s.
UK
Research into probability matrix methods applied to the analysis of monthly and annual reservoir operation. Development of an improved methods and of an iterative procedure to define operating rules for water supply reservoirs.

In addition our Associates have also worked in:

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Ethiopia
Operational analysis of irrigation development in the Awash basin in Ethiopia including the stochastic derivation of flow sequences and the development of a computer model of the basin to assess the need for additional storage to sustain the hydropower and irrigation programme.
Iran
Modelling of a complex water resources system including dams and tunnels for irrigation development.
Mozambique
Reappraisal of the flood operation of Cabora Bassa dam and studies of flood frequency in the lower Zambezi to assess the potential for flood alleviation and flood warning. Revision of operating rules to maximize flood alleviation while maintaining power and energy levels.
Sudan
Studies of the hydrology of the Nile in Sudan with reference to reservoir operation including hydropower development at Jebel Aulia and Sabaloga.
Sudan
Operational study of the Khashm el Girba reservoir on the upper Atbara river in Sudan with particular emphasis on the effects of sedimentation.
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