Planning & Management

Oral

394676 - Using Multi-Objective Optimization to Explore Robust Policies in the Colorado River Basin

Wednesday, June 6
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Location: Northstar B
Co-Authors: Joseph Kasprzyk, Boulder, CO United States – University of Colorado Boulder; Edith Zagona, Boulder, CO United States – University of Colorado Boulder; James Prairie, Salt Lake City, UT United States – Bureau of Reclamation,; Carly Jerla, Boulder City, NV United States – Bureau of Reclamation,; Alan Butler, Boulder City, NV United States – Bureau of Reclamation,

The long term reliability of water deliveries in the Colorado River Basin has degraded due to the imbalance of growing demand and dwindling supply. The Colorado River spans seven US states and Mexico and is an important cultural, economic, and natural resource for nearly 40 million people. Its complex operating policy is based on the “Law of the River,” which has evolved since the Colorado River Compact in 1922. Recent (2007) refinements to address shortage reductions and coordinated operations of Lakes Powell and Mead were negotiated with stakeholders in which thousands of scenarios were explored to identify operating guidelines that could ultimately be agreed on. This study explores a different approach to searching for robust operating policies to inform the policy making process. The Colorado River Simulation System (CRSS), a long-term water management simulation model implemented in RiverWare, is combined with the Borg multi-objective evolutionary algorithm (MOEA) to solve an eight objective problem formulation. Basin-wide performance metrics are closely tied to system health through incorporating critical reservoir pool elevations, duration, frequency and quantity of shortage reductions in the objective set. For example, an objective to minimize the frequency that Lake Powell falls below the minimum power pool elevation of 3,490 feet for Glen Canyon Dam protects a vital economic and renewable energy source for the southwestern US. The decision variables correspond to operating tiers in Lakes Powell and Mead that drive the implementation of various shortage and release policies, thus affecting system performance. The result will be a set of non-dominated solutions that can be compared with respect to their trade-offs based on the various objectives. These could inform policy making processes by eliminating dominated solutions and revealing robust solutions that could remain hidden under conventional analysis.

Elliot Alexander, E.I.T.

Graduate Research Assistant
University of Colorado Boulder

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