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For establishing a criterion system, the structure of criterion system, criteria selection, and explanation of each criterion should be taken into account. A flood control system can be generalized as a multi-reservoir system that includes N reservoirs and K downstream protected regions. During a flood event, reservoir operators are mainly concerned about the flood control safety of reservoirs and downstream protected regions. Therefore, we select three criteria for assessing the status of each reservoir in the multi-reservoir system within a given flood control alternative, including the highest water level (denoted by Zmax), the terminal water level (denoted by Ze), and ratio of the used flood control capacity (denoted by Rv). In addition, we choose another three criteria for assessing the status of each downstream protected region within a given flood control alternative, including peak discharge in downstream protected regions (denoted by Qmax), duration of stream flow exceeding the safety discharge in downstream protected regions (denoted by T), and spillover volume exceeding the safety discharge in downstream protected regions (denoted by W). All of the above criteria are cost criteria which can be quantified during the reservoir flood routing process. The hierarchical structure of the criterion system, which consists of the objective layer, principle layer, and criterion layer, is shown in Table 1.

Table 1

Hierarchical structure of the criterion system

Objective layerPrinciple layerCriterion layerMeaning of criteriaType of criteria
A1 The overall objective of flood control operation in multi-reservoir system B1 Flood control safety of reservoirs C1 The highest water level (Zmax, m) Reservoirs' own safety during the operation Cost type, quantitative 
C2 The terminal water level (Ze, m) Capacity of storing the subsequent floods Cost type, quantitative 
C3 Ratio of the used flood control capacity (Rv, %) Ratio of the occupied flood control capacity Cost type, quantitative 
B2 Flood control safety of downstream protected regions C4 Peak discharge in downstream protected regions (Qmax, m3/s) Determining whether the downstream protected regions are damaged by floods Cost type, quantitative 
C5 Duration of stream flow exceeding the safety discharge in downstream protected regions (T, h) Duration of the downstream protected regions being damaged by floods Cost type, quantitative 
C6 Spillover volume exceeding the safety discharge in downstream protected regions (W, million m3Degree of the downstream protected regions being damaged by floods Cost type, quantitative 
Objective layerPrinciple layerCriterion layerMeaning of criteriaType of criteria
A1 The overall objective of flood control operation in multi-reservoir system B1 Flood control safety of reservoirs C1 The highest water level (Zmax, m) Reservoirs' own safety during the operation Cost type, quantitative 
C2 The terminal water level (Ze, m) Capacity of storing the subsequent floods Cost type, quantitative 
C3 Ratio of the used flood control capacity (Rv, %) Ratio of the occupied flood control capacity Cost type, quantitative 
B2 Flood control safety of downstream protected regions C4 Peak discharge in downstream protected regions (Qmax, m3/s) Determining whether the downstream protected regions are damaged by floods Cost type, quantitative 
C5 Duration of stream flow exceeding the safety discharge in downstream protected regions (T, h) Duration of the downstream protected regions being damaged by floods Cost type, quantitative 
C6 Spillover volume exceeding the safety discharge in downstream protected regions (W, million m3Degree of the downstream protected regions being damaged by floods Cost type, quantitative 

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