UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Applying the virtual structure of a risk-informed decision making framework for operating small hydropower reservoirs during high inflow events, case study : Cheakamus River system Alipour, Mohammadhossein


Operating hydropower reservoirs with small storage capacity is a challenging task due to the fact that in a watershed system there usually exist multiple stakeholders with different and conflicting preferences and values. Consequently the process of planning for reservoir operation must be carried out with consideration of several, usually competing, objectives. This process becomes even more challenging during a high inflow or flooding event for three main reasons. First, the objective of minimizing adverse consequences of such an event is added to the set of objectives that the operator must deal with. Second, inflow forecast uncertainty-driven risks are highly intensified due to the high sensitivity of the outcomes to inflow forecasts. And third, the available time for making a decision is very short while comprehensive analysis is a necessity in order to make an informed decision regarding the best operational alternative. Under these circumstances, the best approach to confront this challenge could be developing a Risk-Informed Decision Making (RIDM) framework that provides operation planning engineers with a solid and pre-designed guideline to deal with the task of identifying the best operational alternative in an efficient and timely manner. The current study is an attempt to apply the virtual structure of a RIDM framework for the Cheakamus River system in British Columbia. The framework is a coherent assembly of a number of methods and tools we have either developed or utilized from the existing widely used methods and techniques in practice. The product of our work is an example of the necessary tools that need to be used to develop recommendations for operating Daisy Lake reservoir during a high inflow event in a manner that all the operational objectives are served in the best possible way. This is done while taking into account making trade-offs among competing objectives. We illustrate the practical applicability and merits of the framework through applying it to a historical high inflow period in October 2003. The outcome is near real-time decisions with less dependency on only planners’ judgement and more dependency on thorough and systematic analysis with consideration of human judgement and possible risk tolerances.

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