The firm yield of a reservoir is typically defined as the maximum yield that could have been delivered without failure during the historical drought of record. In the future, reservoirs will experience droughts that are either more or less severe than the historical drought of record. The question addressed here is what the reliability of such systems will be when operated at the firm yield. To address this question, we examine the reliability of 25 hypothetical reservoirs sited across five locations in the central and western United States. These locations provided a continuous 756-month streamflow record spanning the same time interval. The firm yield of each reservoir was estimated from the historical drought of record at each location. To determine the steady-state monthly reliability of each firm-yield estimate, 12,000-month synthetic records were generated using the moving-blocks bootstrap method. Bootstrapping was repeated 100 times for each reservoir to obtain an average steady-state monthly reliability R, the number of months the reservoir did not fail divided by the total months. Values of R were greater than 0.99 for 60 percent of the study reservoirs; the other 40 percent ranged from 0.95 to 0.98. Estimates of R were highly correlated with both the level of development (ratio of firm yield to average streamflow) and average lag-1 monthly autocorrelation. Together these two predictors explained 92 percent of the variability in R, with the level of development alone explaining 85 percent of the variability. Copyright ASCE 2005.
Additional publication details
Reliability of reservoir firm yield determined from the historical drought of record
Larger Work Title:
World Water Congress 2005: Impacts of Global Climate Change - Proceedings of the 2005 World Water and Environmental Resources Congress
2005 World Water and Environmental Resources Congress