Comparative analysis of recurrent neural network architectures for reservoir inflow forecasting

Halit Apaydin, Hajar Feizi, Mohammad Taghi Sattari, Muslume Sevba Colak, Shahaboddin Shamshirband, Kwok Wing Chau

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

186 Citations (Scopus)


Due to the stochastic nature and complexity of flow, as well as the existence of hydrological uncertainties, predicting streamflow in dam reservoirs, especially in semi-arid and arid areas, is essential for the optimal and timely use of surface water resources. In this research, daily streamflow to the Ermenek hydroelectric dam reservoir located in Turkey is simulated using deep recurrent neural network (RNN) architectures, including bidirectional long short-term memory (Bi-LSTM), gated recurrent unit (GRU), long short-term memory (LSTM), and simple recurrent neural networks (simple RNN). For this purpose, daily observational flow data are used during the period 2012-2018, and all models are coded in Python software programming language. Only delays of streamflow time series are used as the input of models. Then, based on the correlation coefficient (CC), mean absolute error (MAE), root mean square error (RMSE), and Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency coefficient (NS), results of deep-learning architectures are compared with one another and with an artificial neural network (ANN) with two hidden layers. Results indicate that the accuracy of deep-learning RNN methods are better and more accurate than ANN. Among methods used in deep learning, the LSTM method has the best accuracy, namely, the simulated streamflow to the dam reservoir with 90% accuracy in the training stage and 87% accuracy in the testing stage. However, the accuracies of ANN in training and testing stages are 86% and 85%, respectively. Considering that the Ermenek Dam is used for hydroelectric purposes and energy production, modeling inflow in the most realistic way may lead to an increase in energy production and income by optimizing water management. Hence, multi-percentage improvements can be extremely useful. According to results, deep-learning methods of RNNs can be used for estimating streamflow to the Ermenek Dam reservoir due to their accuracy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1500
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020


  • Bi-LSTM
  • Deep learning
  • Ermenek
  • Streamflow
  • Time series simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology


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