Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Joseph R. Kasprzyk

Second Advisor

Paul Block

Third Advisor

Edith Zagona

Fourth Advisor

Balaji Rajagopolan


The Elqui Valley in northern Chile faces increasing water stress due to a growing agricultural sector. This study evaluates how improvements in season-ahead forecasting skill and changes in water rights trading dynamics impact the ability for seasonal reservoir management to meet the water needs of various actors in the basin. By establishing a baseline forecast of perfect foresight of observed streamflow data, the analysis evaluates how the use of an updated forecasting technique compares to climatology in its ability to meet management needs. Using the RiverWare river system modeling tool, multiple scenarios representing different suites of trade and reservoir operating policies are simulated, with multiple performance metrics and objectives calculated. Results of the study demonstrate that forecasting significantly affects objective performance and that a statistical forecast outperforms climatology. Additionally, results indicate that although increased trading leads to economic gain, tradeoffs must be considered and trading cannot make up for overly conservative management.