In order to estimate water supply potential, the effects of shortages on water users, and the uncertainty of local headspring conditions during the planning stage of reservoir construction, the Shortage Index (SI) is often employed. However, the criterion used in the SI is difficult to adjust to satisfy local conditions and objectives. The SI also employs an ambiguous definition of value. Thus, this study adopted a water supply reliability index (WSRI) as an alternative to the SI for providing the criterion for water resources project planning. The value of the WSRI is easily understood, because it is defined according to the real water supply situation and it has a strong linear relationship with values of SI. For any given water supply system, the estimated results derived from this study could serve as an additional remark on different SI values to explain the relevant water supply considerations. In addition, for a new planning site, the estimated results of this study could provide another way for engineers to evaluate the maximum water supply capability. Consequently, an interesting avenue of investigation in future research would be the incorporation of the WSRI with the risk of deficit frequency in establishing an efficient and transparent bottom-up approach for water resources management, involving all the relevant stakeholders.
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