Minimizing the impact of vacating instream storage of a multi-reservoir system: A trade-off study of water supply and empty flushing

Chia Wen Wu, Frederick N.F. Chou, Fong Zuo Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A reservoir operator does not favor storage above a certain level in situations such as the pre-release operation prior to a flood; scheduled engineering construction; or mechanical excavation of sediment in the impoundments, drawdown, and empty flushing, etc. This paper selects empty flushing as the case study, and a method is presented to promote the feasibility of emptying the reservoir storage. The impact of emptying reservoir on water supply is minimized through appropriate joint operation in a multi-reservoir system, where drawdown and empty flushing is carried out in a primary reservoir, and the other reservoir provides backup water for supply. This method prioritizes allocating the storage in the primary reservoir for water supply during specific periods prior to its emptying. If the storage of every reservoir achieves its predefined conditions, drawdown of the primary reservoir is activated and followed by empty flushing. Previously preserved storage in the other reservoir ensures adequate water supply during the periods of emptying the primary reservoir. Flushing of the primary reservoir is continued until either the accumulative released water exceeds the specified volume, storage in the backup reservoir drops below the predefined threshold, or the inflow to the primary reservoir recedes from the flood peak to be below the releasing capacity of outlets. This behavior is simulated and linked with a nonlinear optimization algorithm to calibrate the optimal parameters defining the activation and termination of empty flushing. The optimized strategy limits the incremental water shortage within the acceptable threshold and maximizes the expected benefits of emptying reservoir.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2063-2087
Number of pages25
JournalHydrology and Earth System Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Apr 19

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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