This paper extends the application of Constrained Ant Colony Optimization Algorithms (CACOAs) to optimal operation of multi-reservoir systems. Three different formulations of the constrained Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) are outlined here using Max-Min Ant System for the solution of multi-reservoir operation problems. In the first two versions, called Partially Constrained ACO algorithms, the constraints of the multi-reservoir operation problems are satisfied partially. In the third formulation, all the constraints of the underlying problem are implicitly satisfied by the provision of tabu lists to the ants which contain only feasible options. The ants are, therefore, forced to construct feasible solutions and hence the method is referred to as a Fully Constrained ACO algorithm. The proposed constrained ACO algorithms are formulated for both possible cases of taking storage/release volumes as the decision variables of the problem. The proposed methods are used to optimally solve the well-known problems of four- and ten-reservoir operations and the results are presented and compared with those of the conventional unconstrained ACO algorithm and existing methods in the literature. The results indicate the superiority of the proposed methods over conventional ACOs and existing methods to optimally solve large scale multi-reservoir operation problems.

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