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Large water reservoirs often serve several purposes, such as for hydropower production, irrigation control, flood-control, navigation and other flow regulation objectives. Reservoirs may include natural water bodies such as lakes or man-made structures such as dams. Due to climate change, the importance of reservoirs is likely to increase – not only for the water storage purposes, but also for maximizing water use benefits and mitigating climate extremes.
Optimizing storage reservoir operations aims to ensure that all planned reservoir objectives are met, without compromising those of ecological water requirements. It takes into account a variety of objectives and variables, including cost and revenue considerations of water allocation for various socioeconomic uses. Various computer simulation models can be used for optimization. The models use algorithms to calculate the optimal balance between water release and reservoir storage volumes.