Assessment approach to the floodwater utilization potential of a basin and an empirical analysis from China

  • Ailing Ye
  • Zongzhi WangEmail author
  • Lingling Zhang
  • Lihui Wang
  • Kun Wang
Thematic Issue
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Climate Effects on Water Resources


Water stress is increasingly intense all over the world owing to rapid economic development and global climate change. Floodwater utilization can mitigate water shortages and provide multiple water use benefits. The priority of evaluating the utilization status and potential of floodwater should be taken into account at a basin scale. However, few studies have focused on the assessment approach. This paper argues that the amount of available floodwater is a function of the ability to regulate and utilize floodwater, and that floodwater can be classified into two parts: unavailable floodwater and available floodwater. Based on this definition, the logical relationships among current floodwater utilization potential, theoretical floodwater utilization potential, and the current and theoretical amounts of available floodwater in a basin were derived using limit analysis theory. The concepts and evaluation methods of basin floodwater utilization were unified in this paper. Finally, the status and potential of floodwater utilization of the Nansi Lake Basin were evaluated. The results showed that the current and theoretical amounts of available floodwater were 1629–1808 million m3 and 2050–2155 million m3, respectively, and the current and theoretical amounts of floodwater utilization potential were 266–386 million m3 and 678–733 million m3, respectively. The application in the Nansi Lake Basin offers some practical information for assessing floodwater utilization scientifically and provides some significant guidelines for other basins.


Floodwater utilization Floodwater utilization potential Floodwater utilization status Evaluation methods Nansi lake basin 



Amount of available floodwater


Current amount of available floodwater


Theoretical amount of available floodwater


Amount of utilized floodwater


Flood utilization potential


Current flood utilization potential


Theoretical flood utilization potential


Ability to regulate and utilize floodwater


Flood-limited water level



Certain ability to regulate and utilize floodwater of a basin


The current ability to regulate and utilize floodwater of a basin


The amount of available floodwater corresponding to \(x\)


Natural river runoff


The unallowed amount of total floodwater which is used to satisfy the basic water demand downstream


The amount of unable floodwater of a basin which is limited by \(x\)


The current amount of utilized floodwater of a basin corresponding to \({x_0}\)


Outflow of a basin corresponding to \({x_0}\)


The flood utilization potential of a basin corresponding to \(x\)


The current flood utilization potential of a basin corresponding to \({x_0}\)


The unable amount of total floodwater of a basin limited by \({x_0}\)


The water amount corresponding to \({x_0}\)


The amount of available floodwater of a basin corresponding to \({x_0}\)


The natural flow hydrograph of a basin’s outlet under natural conditions


The discharge hydrograph of a basin’s outlet under the current utilization level


The discharge hydrograph after some improvement measures was adopted


The basic water demand hydrograph ensuring ecological and domestic requirements downstream


The total amount of floodwater


The theoretical amount of available floodwater


The current amount of available floodwater


The theoretical flood utilization potential


The current flood utilization potential


The relative level of present status of floodwater utilization



This study was financially supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (No. 2016YFC0400906) and the National Science Foundation of China under grants Nos. 51479119 and 51579064. The authors thank the editor and the anonymous reviewers for their comments, which helped improve the quality of the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic EngineeringNanjing Hydraulic Research InstituteNanjingChina
  2. 2.College of Civil EngineeringFuzhou UniversityFuzhouChina
  3. 3.School of Public AdministrationHohai UniversityNanjingChina
  4. 4.College of water Conservancy and Hydropower EngineeringHohai UniversityNanjingChina

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