Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

Mac McKee


Mac McKee


David Stevens


Gary Merkley


Wynn Walker


Gilberto Urroz


The principal objective of this dissertation is to develop Bayesian machine learning models for multiple reservoir, irrigation canal, and river system operation and management. These types of models are derived from the emerging area of machine learning theory; they are characterized by their ability to capture the underlying physics of the system simply by examination of the measured system inputs and outputs. They can be used to provide probabilistic predictions of system behavior using only historical data. The models were developed in the form of a multivariate relevance vector machine (MVRVM) that is based on a sparse Bayesian learning machine approach for regression. Using this Bayesian approach, a predictive confidence interval is obtained from the model that captures the uncertainty of both the model and the data. The models were applied to the multiple reservoir, canal and river system located in the regulated Lower Sevier River Basin in Utah. The models were developed to perform predictions of multi-time-ahead releases of multiple reservoirs, diversions of multiple canals, and streamflow and water loss/gain in a river system. This research represents the first attempt to use a multivariate Bayesian learning regression approach to develop simultaneous multi-step-ahead predictions with predictive confidence intervals for multiple outputs in a regulated river basin system. These predictions will be of potential value to reservoir and canal operators in identifying the best decisions for operation and management of irrigation water supply systems.