Decision Support Framework for Optimal Reservoir Operation to Mitigate Cyanobacterial Blooms in Rivers

Jongchan Kim, Andreja Jonoski, Dimitri P. Solomatine, Peter L. M. Goethals

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Flow control flushing water from reservoirs has been imposed in South Korea for mitigating harmful cyanobacterial blooms (CyanoHABs) in rivers. This measure, however, can cause water shortage in reservoirs, as the measure adopting this flow control may require an additional amount of water which exceeds the water demand allocated to the reservoirs. In terms of sustainability, a trade-off between improving water quality and alleviating water shortage needs to be considered. This study aimed at establishing a practical framework for a decision support system for optimal joint operation of the upstream reservoirs (Andong and Imha) to reduce the frequency of CyanoHABs in the Nakdong River, South Korea. Methodologically, three models were introduced: (1) a machine learning model (accuracy 88%) based on the k-NN (k-Nearest Neighbor) algorithm to predict the occurrence of CyanoHABs at a selected downstream location (the Chilgok Weir located approximately 140 km downstream from the Andong Dam), (2) a multiobjective optimization model employing NSGA-II (Nondominated Sorting Genetic Algorithm II) to determine both the quantity and quality of water released from the reservoirs, and (3) a river water quality model (R2 0.79) using HEC-RAS to simulate the water quality parameter at Chilgok Weir according to given upstream boundary conditions. The applicability of the framework was demonstrated by simulation results using observational data from 2015 to 2019. The simulation results based on the framework confirmed that the frequency of CyanoHABs would be decreased compared with the number of days when CyanoHABs were observed at Chilgok Weir. This framework, with a combination of several models, is a novelty in terms of efficiency, and it can be a part of a solution to the problem of CyanoHABs without using an additional amount of water from a reservoir.
Original languageEnglish
Article number12789
Number of pages28
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • harmful cyanobacterial blooms
  • reservoir operation
  • framework
  • machine learning model
  • river water quality model

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