Daily time step refinement of optimized flood control rule curves for a global warming scenario


Lee, S-Y., Fitzgerald, C.J., Hamlet, A.F., Burges, S.J. 2010. Daily time step refinement of optimized flood control rule curves for a global warming scenario. Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management 137: 309-317, doi:10.1061/(ASCE)WR.1943-5452.0000125.


Pacific Northwest temperatures have warmed by 0.8°C since 1920 and are predicted to increase in the 21st century. Streamflow timing shifts associated with climate change would degrade the water resources system performance for climate change scenarios using existing system operation policies for the Columbia River Basin. To mitigate the hydrologic impacts of anticipated climate change on this complex water resource system, optimized flood control operating rule curves were developed at a monthly time step in a previous study and were evaluated with a monthly time-step simulation model.

Here, a daily time-step simulation model is used over a smaller portion of the domain to evaluate and refine the optimized flood-control curves derived from monthly time-step analysis. Daily time-step simulations demonstrate that maximum evacuation targets for flood control derived from the monthly analysis were remarkably robust. However, the evacuation schedules for Libby and Duncan Dams from February to April conflicted with Kootenay Lake level requirements specified in the 1938 International Joint Commission Order on Kootenay Lake. We refined the flood rule curves derived from monthly analysis by creating a gradual evacuation schedule, keeping the timing and magnitude of maximum evacuation the same as in the monthly analysis. After these refinements, the performance at monthly timescales reported in our previous study proved robust at daily timescales. Owing to a decrease in July storage deficits, additional benefits such as more revenue from hydropower generation and more July and August outflow for fish augmentation were observed when the optimized flood-control curves were used for a climate-change scenario.