The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Operational guidance during droughts: Expert system approach

TitleOperational guidance during droughts: Expert system approach
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1988
AuthorsPalmer RN, K. Holmes J
JournalJournal of Water Resources Planning and Management
Date Published01/1988
KeywordsComputer models, Decision support systems, Droughts, expert systems, Municipal water, North America, Seattle, United States, Washington

Seattle, Washington, suffered its most extreme drought on record during the summer and fall of 1987. Severe and continuing water use restrictions were required to limit the drought's impact on municipal water supplies, fish populations, and navigation. This paper describes a decision support system used to aid in drought decisions. Its components include an expert system, a linear programming model, database management tools, and computer graphics. The expert system incorporates operator experience and intuition using a rule base developed through interviews with management personnel from the Seattle Water Department. The expert system also integrates the other programming techniques into a single system. A linear programming model determines system yield and optimal operating policies for past hydrologic regimes. Database management and graphics software store and allow the display of over two thousand operating policies to decision‐makers. The system provides user‐friendly support to help decision‐makers explore a wide range of management alternatives.