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5th International Conference on Rain Water Cistern Systems
"Rainwater Catchment for Future Generations"
Keelung, Taiwan, R.O.C. - August 1991

Section 5: Cistern Management and Operation Guidelines

Page 251

Dynamic Programming of Rain Water Catchment

Richard J. Heggen
University of New Mexico, USA


Rain water catchment has four engineering aspects: design, implementation, construction and operation. Routine design matches capacity with demand. Improvements in financial and educational infrastructure further the regional-scale implementation. Material and technique development make construction more appropriate. The weak link in the engineering process is that of operation, managing the catchment to maximize benefit.

Dynamic programming, a tool long used in reservoir operational studies, reveals how a catchment can be managed (when to draw,, when to conserve) to minimize the penalties associated with water shortage. Penalties can be defined in arbitrary terms, relatively or absolutely. Demands can be historic or synthetic, with or without trend, seasonality or random fluctuation. Rainfall can be likewise actual or synthetic. As a deductive tool, dynamic programming reveals the optimal mode of catchment operation for any, scenario of supply and demand. As an inductive agent, the analyst may reduce that knowledge to rules for real-time decision making.

A New Mexico catchment system is dynamically evaluated. A seven year rainfall record is employed with logistic, exponential and unit price penalty schedules.

PDF of full document (7pp, 220kb)

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