Water Resources Management

, Volume 29, Issue 12, pp 4557–4572 | Cite as

Streamflow Forecast Errors and Their Impacts on Forecast-based Reservoir Flood Control

  • Zhao LiuEmail author
  • Yiping Guo
  • Lixia Wang
  • Qing Wang


To make full use of water captured by reservoirs in flood seasons, methods such as forecast-based reservoir flood control (i.e., reservoir operation during flood periods based on precipitation or inflow forecasts) have been developed in China in the past few decades. The success of forecast-based reservoir flood control depends heavily on the precision of the precipitation or inflow forecasts. This study analyzes the sources of uncertainty and quantifies it in the process of reservoir flood control based on forecasts. First, flood inflow series is regarded as a random process with the forecasted flood inflows as its expectation process; the flood inflow error series, which is the difference between the observed inflow process and the forecasted inflow process, is obtained according to the statistical characteristics of the flood forecasts. Second, reservoir flood routing simulations are carried out using the Monte Carlo method with the flood inflow error series as an input to obtain output water level and discharge series. Finally, the frequency distributions of the maximum water level (MWL) reached during the passage of floods are used to evaluate the uncertainties and the corresponding risks associated with forecast-based flood control. These uncertainties and risks are what the operators of the reservoirs care about the most.


Water resources Reservoir operation Flood regulation Uncertainties 



This research was supported by Natural Science Basic Research Plan in Shaanxi Province of China (Program No. 2015JM5256); the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (No. 310850151100); the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41471452, 51009008); State-Sponsored Scholarship Program of China; the Special Funds for Scientific Research on Public Interest of the Ministry of Water Resources (201301084); and the Program of Introducing Talents of Discipline to Universities of China (B08039).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Water and DevelopmentChang’an UniversityXi’anPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Civil EngineeringMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  3. 3.College of Earth Sci & ResourcesChang’an UniversityXianPeople’s Republic of China

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