Optimization Model for the Sustainable Water Resource Management of River Basins

Robert L. Oxley, Larry Mays, Alan Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This paper presents a new methodology for the sustainable and optimal allocation of water for a river basin management area. The model distinguishes between short and long-term planning horizons and goals using a short-term modeling component (STM) and a long term modeling component (LTM) respectively. An STM is a linear programming problem, and optimizes a monthly allocation schedule on an annual basis in terms of maximum net economic benefit. A cost of depletion is included in the STM net benefit calculation to address the non-use value of groundwater. An LTM consists of an STM for every year of the long-term planning horizon. Each LTM is quantified using a sustainability index, with sustainability defined in terms of risk to supply and ecological, environmental, and hydrological integrity. The LTMs are optimized to determine the most sustainable net economic benefit for the management area using a genetic algorithm. The model is applied to a test case representative of a management area in Arizona in order to highlight its potential utility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalWater Resources Management
StateAccepted/In press - May 12 2016


  • Economic benefits
  • Genetic algorithms
  • Linear programming
  • Optimization
  • River basin management
  • Sustainability index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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