3.2 Climate-Information for Improved Water and Energy Management: Opportunities and Challenges

Tuesday, 12 January 2016: 11:15 AM
Room 244 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Sankar Arumugam, North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC; and U. Lall

Seasonal to inter-annual streamflow forecasts are becoming increasingly available as the ability in predicting climate variability and updating initial land-surface conditions are continuously improving. However, water managers and practitioners have been reluctant to adopt such products citing concerns with forecast skill. The primary challenge in using forecast products for water and energy management arises from utilizing the probabilistic information that are typically expressed the forecasts in the form of an ensemble or as tercile probabilities that indicate the uncertainty in the relevant hydroclimatological attributes. Further, water managers and practitioners are often risk-averse and are hence reluctant to change their current practices of operating the systems based on fixed rule curves. An adaptive reservoir water allocation strategy that uses probabilistic inflow forecasts to size seasonal/annual contracts with pre-specified reliability and end-of-the-season-target storage is presented. Distilled findings from four case studies (Tana River basin, Kenya; Angat River basin, Philippines, Ceara, Brazil and Neuse and Cape Fear river basins, NC ) demonstrate the opportunities and challenges in utilizing climate forecasts for improving water supply, flood control and hydropower generation using the proposed water allocation model. Perspectives on reservoir system characteristics that could benefit even from modest skill in inflow forecasts are also discussed. Opportunities for improving/developing products including experimental inflow and storage forecasts and power demand forecasts will also be presented
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