Safe Yield Water Supply Planning - Tailored Collaboration Research Project
Improving water supply management practices to meet competing demands is vital for community growth and long-term prosperity. In a tailored collaboration with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities, Duke Energy and 16 other utilities, HDR is leading a research effort sponsored by the Water Research Foundation to better define and enhance safe yields in multi-use, multiple reservoir systems. The research project is titled "Defining and Enhancing the Safe Yield of a Multi-Use, Multi-Reservoir Water Supply". The research objectives include the following:
- Define best practice guidance for defining water supply safe yields in multi-use, multi-reservoir systems.
- Develop a defined approach for integrating the impacts of climate change on future safe yield estimates.
- Identify strategies for increasing the safe yield from similar reservoir systems.
- Perform quantitative and qualitative review of the financial, environmental, and public impacts of selected strategies.
The initial study phase includes engaging the technical advisory panel and other project participants to identify comparison, multi-use, multi-reservoir systems similar to the initial Catawba-Wateree River Basin that was the basis for the safe yield research project. Collectively, the subject and comparison reservoir systems will be evaluated to determine 'best practice' methods and criteria used to establish safe yields for water supply. In addition, the project will evaluate the latest research on climate change impacts and how these impacts should be integrated into future projections of safe yield.
Following initial comparison and analysis of the similar systems, the research team will identify strategies that can be used to increase safe yields of multi-use, multi-reservoir systems. Prioritized strategies will then be modeled using the Computer Hydro-Electric Operations and Planning Software (CHEOPS) computer simulation model to quantify the benefits of various safe yield enhancement strategies and the financial, environmental, and public impacts of select strategies.
The results of this research are expected to identify and document options that can be used to increase available water supply to future generations for those in the Catawba-Wateree River Basin (North Carolina and South Carolina) and that can be applied to similar systems in the US and abroad. The final report will provide water utilities, regional water supply agencies, state regulatory agencies, the USEPA, and AWWA with consolidated guidance on the criteria that should be used for safe yield evaluations and strategies for increasing the long term safe yield of reservoir systems.