Severe droughts typically last for extended periods and result in substantial water shortages, posing challenges for water conservancy projects. This study proposed a framework for coordinating drought mitigation operations across projects of various scales. First, the regulation and drought mitigation capacities of each project were analyzed, and thus critical reservoirs was identified. Subsequently, a joint regulation model for water supply, prioritizing projects based on their regulatory capacity from weak to strong, was established. An optimization model is then developed to determine the drought-limited levels for critical reservoirs, aiming to minimize water shortages. This model facilitates temporal coordination of water resources to prevent severe water shortages with frequent mild water shortages. Results in the Chuxionglucheng District of Chuxiong, Yunnan Province, during the severe drought period from 2009 to 2013, demonstrates significant reductions in water shortage. Specifically, the maximum shortage ratio decreased from 59 to 45% for agriculture and from 52 to 8% for industry. Moreover, emergency measures for drought mitigation were compared and recommend for regions with weak projects regulation. Overall, this framework offers a systematic approach to enhancing drought resilience across diverse water conservancy projects in severe drought conditions.

  • Coordinating drought mitigation operations across projects of various scales is proposed.

  • Optimal drought-limited water levels are optimized for the critical reservoirs.

  • The coordinating operation and optimal hedging rules decrease the water shortage during the extreme drought.

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