Optimizing Conjunctive Use of Surface and Groundwater—By Linear Programming

Document Type


Publication Date

January 1969


Introduction: In the United States water resources plans evolve through diverse and heterogeneous processes. Long-range and short-range plans are made by many state and federal agencies, by municipalities, by region commissions, and by non-government organizations taht may be water-oriented or may be concerned with water resources only as incident to other purposes such as recreation development. Throughout the country planning goes on continuously at many levels. With all this diversity and the resulting jumble of relatively independent operations, water resources plans are produced which often are incongruent and incompatible with each other. Eventually the planners must face the questions, "What is the best comprehensive river basin plan?" Certinly it is more than putting together all of the separate individual plans--more even than merely coordinating them in an effort to remedy conflicts and imcompatibilities. Since the 1950's several massive and extremely complex undertakings, such as the space exploration program, have been successfully planned and managed by applications of system engineering methods. Successes in these other fields certainly motivate the effort to look to systems engineering methods for formulating optimum water resources management plans. This systems engineering methodology involves the manipulation of large qunatities of data in mathematical models; hence, it involves large scale computer solutions. Linear programming is one of the systems engineering methodologies used for optimal resources allocation when the problem can be described by a mathematical model in the linear programming framework. This paper is intended to show that the problem of allocating surface and groundwater resources conjunctively to meet various demands can be approached using linear programming.

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