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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Optimal Operation of a Multiple Reservoir System


This report presents a methodology to obtain optimal reservoir operation policies for a large-scale reservoir system. The model maximizes the system annual energy generation while satisfying constraints imposed on the operation of the reservoir network. The model incorporates the stochasticity of river flows and keeps future operating schedules up-to-date with the actual realization of those random variables. It yields medium-term (one-year ahead) optimal release policies that allow the planning of activities within the current water year, with the possibility of updating preplanned activities to account for uncertain events that affect the state of the system. The solution approach is a sequential dynamic decomposition algorithm that keeps computational requirements and dimensionality problems at low levels. The model is applied to a nine-reservoir portion of the California Central Valley Project and the results are compared with those from conventional operation methods currently in use, showing that the use of the model can improve the levels of energy production (about 30 percent increase) while the optimal release policies meet satisfactorily all other functions of the reservoir system. Sensitivity analysis is conducted to assess the optimality of the solutions and several alternative formulations of the model are developed and tested, the results showing the robustness of the optimal policies to the choice of model.

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