Risk-based decision making in reservoir operations

A significant reservoir operations need in Great Plains Region is to rapidly evaluate a large number of potential reservoir inflow scenarios in order to make short- and mid-term operational decisions. These scenarios are currently created manually by adjusting inflow timing and volume within a daily operations spreadsheet. Risk is then assessed qualitatively to make a final operational decision.
GP reservoir operators do not have a systematic, risk-based methodology for operational decisions, nor are we aware of any within Reclamation. This results in operators using professional judgment on an ad-hoc basis to evaluate risk.
This research will provide a case study for automating and rapidly evaluating numerous potential inflow scenarios, significantly improving staff efficiency. The project will also provide clarity to the decision-making process. The current lack of operational clarity leaves Reclamation management and staff open to criticism, or in the extreme, to lawsuits, if operations damage water users in some manner.