Assessing the impacts of reservoir operation to floodplain inundation by combining hydrological, reservoir management, and hydrodynamic models

Cherry May Mateo, Naota Hanasaki, Daisuke Komori, Kenji Tanaka, Masashi Kiguchi, Adisorn Champathong, Thada Sukhapunnaphan, Dai Yamazaki, Taikan Oki

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104 Citations (Scopus)


A catastrophic flood event which caused massive economic losses occurred in Thailand, in 2011. Several studies have already been conducted to analyze the Thai floods, but none of them have assessed the impacts of reservoir operation on flood inundation. This study addresses this gap by combining physically based hydrological models to explicitly simulate the impacts of reservoir operation on flooding in the Chao Phraya River Basin, Thailand. H08, an integrated water resources model with a reservoir operation module, was combined with CaMa-Flood, a river routing model with representation of flood dynamics. The combined H08-CaMa model was applied to simulate and assess the historical and alternative reservoir operation rules in the two largest reservoirs in the basin. The combined H08-CaMa model effectively simulated the 2011 flood: regulated flows at a major gauging station have high daily NSE-coefficient of 92% as compared with observed discharge; spatiotemporal extent of simulated flood inundation match well with those of satellite observations. Simulation results show that through the operation of reservoirs in 2011, flood volume was reduced by 8.6 billion m3 and both depth and area of flooding were reduced by 40% on the average. Nonetheless, simple modifications in reservoir operation proved to further reduce the flood volume by 2.4 million m3 and the depth and area of flooding by 20% on the average. By modeling reservoir operation with a hydrodynamic model, a more realistic simulation of the 2011 Thai flood was made possible, and the potential of reducing flood inundation through improved reservoir management was quantified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7245-7266
Number of pages22
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Sept


  • Impacts of dam operation to flood inundation were explicitly evaluated
  • Modeling dam operation with hydrodynamics improved simulationof Thai flood
  • Reservoir operation in 2011 reduced flood volumes but it can still be improved


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