Artificially controlled floods generated by cascade reservoirs upstream have been applied to regulate the suspended river formed in the main stream of Ningxia–Inner Mongolia reach, China. The presence of sufficient transferable water in reservoirs is the most important limiting factor for the successful implementation of water and sediment regulation schemes. In this study, the conception and four modes of transferable water are proposed. Taking Longyangxia (LYX) and Liujiaxia (LJX) upper the Yellow River for example, a multi-objective optimal operation model of cascade reservoirs is established and solved by Feasible Search Space Optimal Particle Swarm Optimization (FSSO-PSO). Based on long-term time series of transferable water results from the four modes, the most appropriate transferable water mode is recommended and the potential of water and sediment regulation by LYX and LJX is illustrated. The research findings have important practical significance for guiding the implementation of water and sediment regulation and provision of a scientific basis for decision makers.

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