Integrated River System Operation in a Major Flood

by Alfred J. Cooper, (F.ASCE), Consultant; Knoxville, Tenn.; formerly, Chf., River Control Branch, TVA, Knoxville, Tenn.,
Clifford A. Roberts, Chf.; Hydroelectric Generation Branch, TVA, Chattanooga, Tenn.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Power Division, 1976, Vol. 102, Issue 1, Pg. 63-80

Document Type: Journal Paper


The largest flood experienced in this century on the Tennessee River system occurred in March 1973. TVA, through its organization and equipment, put into effect measures to mitigate flood damages not only on the integrated Tennessee River system but also on the lower Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to which the Tennessee River system is tributary. The weather and runoff conditions which generated the flood and the currently available weather services and hydrologic data formed the primary bases for actions taken to control the rising flood waters. The coordination with public officials, news media, and water and power regulators is essential to successful flood control operations of an integrated system of reservoirs. Despite the unusual areal distribution of the March 1973 rainfall and resulting runoff, the available control by reservoirs coupled with advance warnings of anticipated rising water levels and crest stages are the key to the success in mitigating flood damages.

Subject Headings: River systems | Integrated systems | Floods | Damage (structural) | Runoff | Hydrologic data | Hydro power | Reservoirs | United States | Tennessee | Ohio | Mississippi River

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