Development of a Phase I Prescriptive Reservoir Model

by Robert D. Carl, Hydrologic Engineering Cent, Davis, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water Resources Planning and Management: Saving a Threatened Resource—In Search of Solutions


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Hydrologic Engineering Center (HEC) has recently developed a Phase I generalized prescriptive reservoir model referred to as HEC-PRM. The purpose of the model is to help Corps of Engineers managers update and improve operation of large reservoir systems. HEC-PRM utilizes a network-flow programming algorithm which distributes a commodity through a network with the objective of minimizing cost. For HEC-PRM, the network consists of nodes and links corresponding to spatial locations (such as reservoirs, damage centers, etc.) and connections (such as rivers). The commodity is water. It computes the cost of distributing water by multiplying the volume of water by the unit cost. The unit cost is derived from convex, piecewise linear penalty functions which relate flow or storage to penalty (or cost). The penalty functions are mostly based on economics but could be based on non-economic criteria. For input, HEC-PRM requires monthly average inflows and penalty functions. It then generates a solver matrix from this data, calls the solver to get the least cost solution, and then post-processes the solution matrix to generate results in a format that is meaningful to the analyst. HEC-PRM is being developed and applied on MS-DOS IBM compatible microcomputers. It requires the use of HEC's data storage system (HEC-DSS) for both input and output. It has been successfully applied on the Missouri and Columbia River Basins in preliminary Phase I studies.

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