An application is presented of a new methodology for the real-time operations of river-reservoir systems. The methodology is based upon an optimization/simulation modeling approach that interfaces optimization with a one and/or two-dimensional unsteady flow simulation model (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers HEC-RAS). The approach also includes a model for short-term rainfall forecasting, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers HEC-HMS model for rainfall-runoff modeling. Both short-term forecasted rainfall in addition to gaged streamflow data and/or NEXRAD (Next-Generation Radar) can be implemented in the modeling approach. The optimization solution methodology is based upon a genetic algorithm implemented through MATLAB. The application is based upon the May 2010 flood event on the Cumberland River system in the USA, during which releases from Old Hickory dam caused major flooding in the downstream area of Nashville, TN, USA, and allowed the dam to be placed in an emergency operational situation. One of the major features of the modeling effort and the application presented was to investigate the use of different unsteady flow modeling approaches available in the HEC-RAS, including one-dimensional (1D), two-dimensional (2D), and the combined (1D/2D) approach. One of the major results of the application was to investigate the use the different unsteady flow approaches in the modeling approach. The 2D unsteady flow modeling, based upon the diffusion wave approach, was found to be superior for the application to the Cumberland River system. The model application successfully determined real-time operations that would have maintained the flood water surface elevations at the downstream control point in Nashville below the 100-year return period river water surface and maintaining the gate openings at the Old Hickory Dam from reaching an emergency operational situation, which could have caused major losses at the dam.
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