Document Type


Publication Date



Many existing hydropower storage facilities were built decades ago and components of these aging infrastructure facilities have higher risk of failure. Insufficient capacity or forced outages of the spillway and other waterway passage facilities during flooding incident could potentially increase the probability of dam safety incidents leading to public safety concerns. Currently approaches used to assess the risk and uncertainty in operational decision making are mainly based on qualitative assessment and expert judgment and can be significantly improved by the development of a framework that formally incorporates both qualitative and quantitative reliability analysis methods. Event tree analysis and fault tree analysis have traditionally been used in dam safety risk analysis, with results subject to data adequacy and availability. Our research shows that other methods, such as nonparametric analysis and Monte Carlo simulation techniques can yield good results as well. This study investigated the application of reliability analysis methods to existing hydropower storage facilities, with the objective of developing a new systems engineering based approach for risk and uncertainty analysis to assess and manage the risks of hydropower system operations. Our approach integrates reliability-based methods with hydro system optimization modeling to develop an operational reliability-based modeling framework and to formally treat risk and uncertainty in operations planning. This approach incorporates different sources of uncertainty that are typically encountered in operations planning of these systems, including failure probability of hydro system components such as non-power release structures and turbine facilities. This paper presents the framework we have developed and illustrates the application of our investigation for a hydropower system facility in British Columbia, Canada.


Session R21, Energy and Fluids



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.