Deriving optimal operational policies for off-stream man-made reservoir considering conjunctive use of surface-and groundwater at the Bar dam reservoir (Iran)

Ata Joodavi, Azizallah Izady, Mohammad Taghi Karbasi Maroof, Maysam Majidi, Rudy Rossetto*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Study region: The off-stream artificial Bar lake, built in 2015 to store the flood flows of the Bar river for domestic and industrial needs and with the objective to intentionally recharge the aquifer, is situated in the Razavi Khorasan province (Iran). Study focus: We present a methodology, based on the combination of a MODFLOW groundwater flow model for estimating seepage rates, and an optimization model, for the management and operation of an artificial reservoir considering surface/groundwater interactions for satisfying 12 Mm3/year of water demand. We simulated the reliable amount of water that can be supplied from the reservoir, considering reservoir seepage, maximizing water supply yields subject to the water supply reliability requirements, and the additional intentional volume of groundwater recharge. New hydrological insights for the region: Our results demonstrate the reliability of conjunctive use of surface-and ground-water in water scarce areas by exploiting reservoir infrastructures with relevant leakage losses, also for creating additional aquifer storage. In such systems, man-induced changes of lake stages can significantly affect the volume of water that seeps through the lakebed. The aquifer, under managed aquifer recharge operations, may then provide the resource not satisfied by the reservoir release, fulfilling 100 % reliability of water supply. The conjunctive use of surface- and ground-water, by improving water security, may open new sustainability views for leaking reservoirs, even if they were not initially designed for increasing aquifer recharge, in many areas worldwide.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100725
Pages (from-to)100725
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Hydrology: Regional Studies
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Conjunctive use of surface water and groundwater
  • Groundwater flow numerical modelling
  • Managed aquifer recharge
  • Reservoir management optimization model
  • Surface water-groundwater interactions
  • Water resources management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

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