Reservoir Operating Rule Optimization for California's Sacramento Valley

TitleReservoir Operating Rule Optimization for California's Sacramento Valley
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsNelson T, Hui R, Lund JR, Medellín-Azuara J
JournalSan Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science
Type of ArticleJournal Article
AbstractReservoir operating rules for water resource systems are typically developed by combining intuition, professional discussion, and simulation modeling. This paper describes a joint optimization–simulation approach to develop preliminary economically-based operating rules for major reservoirs in California’s Sacramento Valley, based on optimized results from CALVIN, a hydro-economic optimization model. We infer strategic operating rules from the optimization model results, including storage allocation rules to balance storage among multiple reservoirs, and reservoir release rules to determine monthly release for individual reservoirs. Results show the potential utility of considering previous year type on water availability and various system and sub-system storage conditions, in addition to normal consideration of local reservoir storage, season, and current inflows. We create a simple simulation to further refine and test the derived operating rules. Optimization model results show particular insights for balancing the allocation of water storage among Shasta, Trinity, and Oroville reservoirs over drawdown and refill seasons, as well as some insights for release rules at major reservoirs in the Sacramento Valley. We also discuss the applicability and limitations of developing reservoir operation rules from optimization model results.