The study presents a method which can be used to define real-time operation rules for gated spillways (named the K-Method). The K-Method is defined to improve the performance of the Volumetric Evaluation Method (VEM), by adapting it to the particular conditions of the basin, the reservoir, or the spillway. The VEM was proposed by the Spanish engineer Fernando Girón in 1988 and is largely used for the specification of dam management rules during floods in Spain. This method states that outflows are lower than or equal to antecedent inflows, outflows increase when inflows increase, and the higher the reservoir level, the higher the percentage of outflow increase. The K-Method was developed by modifying the VEM and by including a K parameter which affects the released flows. A Monte Carlo environment was developed to evaluate the method under a wide range of inflow conditions (100,000 hydrographs) and with return periods ranging from one to 10,000 years. The methodology was applied to the Talave reservoir, located in the South-East of Spain. The results show that K-values higher than one always reduce the maximum reservoir levels reached in the dam. For K-values ranging from one to ten, and for inflow hydrographs with return periods higher than 100 years, we found a decrease in the maximum levels and outflows, when compared to the VEM. Finally, by carrying out a dam risk analysis, a K-value of 5.25 reduced the expected annual damage by 8.4% compared to the VEM, which represents a lowering of 17.3% of the maximum possible reduction, determined by the application of an optimizer based on mixed integer linear programming (MILP method).
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