Year of selection 2013
In 1910, the city of Paris suffered a flood of historic proportions when the Seine River overflowed its banks. If the waterway repeated this performance today, without the control offered by reservoirs, the damage could reach 18 billion euros; with reservoirs, that cost could be cut in half. As climate change is expected to increase the chance of extreme events affecting the water supply, the ability to manage this resource becomes ever more critical. Luciano Raso is convinced that, by optimizing reservoir management systems with predictive models, it will be possible to improve control over our water resources, without increasing costs.
Using the strategically important Seine as a test subject, Dr. Raso is developing management methods tailored to the reservoir system. For this, his models must take into account the consequences for the entire system (rivers, groundwater, etc.) as well as all of the final uses for water (drinking water, electricity production, and more.) The challenge is to create a harmonized management system capable of addressing two conflicting goals: controlling the huge amounts of water that flow through our communities at times and alleviating drought conditions at others. Luciano Raso aims to develop a system where early action is possible, whenever floods or drought are forecast. The potential utility of this work is clear—for Paris and for other communities anticipating similar water predicaments around the world.
The Seine river has a strategic importance for the French economy. Droughts and floods affecting the Seine can be mitigated by a system of four reservoirs. However, climate change will further increase the chance of hydrological extremes, endangering the water security level presently accepted.
Dr. Raso’s objective is to assess the role of management adaptation as response to climate change. To do this, he will evaluate the potential on the Seine river of Model Predictive Control (MPC), a control technique that proved effective in different fields and has shown promising preliminary results for reservoir management too. MPC considers the effects of controls on the entire catchment, harmonizing the management of all the structures included and taking anticipatory action against forecasted flood or drought events.
His results may ensure water security on this catchment under present conditions and future scenarios of climate change and have an impact on many dammed rivers worldwide.
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