Reservoir in Global Water Cycle: Macro Scale Hydrologic Modeling for Water Management

Monday, 15 December 2014
Tian Zhou1, Bart Nijssen1, Ingjerd Haddeland2, Huilin Gao3 and Dennis P Lettenmaier1,4, (1)University of Washington, Seattle, WA, United States, (2)Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate, Oslo, Norway, (3)Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, United States, (4)University of California, Los Angeles (effective Nov., 2014), Dept. of Geography, Los Angeles, CA, United States
Man-made reservoirs play a key role in the terrestrial water system. They support purposes, such as irrigation, hydropower generation, and flood control, which can substantially change water fluxes at the land surface and redistribute the storage of surface water in space and time. Although most developed countries have sophisticated observing systems for many variables in the natural surface water cycle, long-term and consistent records that focus on water management and human impacts on the global water cycle are much more limited, and most land surface models ignore water management activities. We describe a continental-scale model of reservoir storage, which is combined with a soil moisture deficit-based irrigation scheme within the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) macro-scale hydrological model to simulate the effects of water management in the major river basins of the world. The model is forced with merged NCEP/NCAR and satellite meteorological data at a spatial resolution of 0.25 degrees latitude-longitude, for the period 1948 to 2010. A total of 167 of the largest reservoirs in the world with a total storage capacity around 3900 km3 (nearly 60% of the global total reservoir storage) are simulated. We successfully predict the monthly reservoir storage time series for most of a set of 23 global reservoirs for which observed storage is available either via in situ or satellite remote sensing measurements. We evaluate, on a continental and global basis, the magnitude of inter-seasonal and inter-annual reservoir storage variations in comparison with other terms in the land surface water cycle, including Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) and soil moisture.