Reservoir operating policies are derived to improve the operation and efficient management of available water for the Aliyar Dam in Tamil Nadu, India, using a dynamic programming (DP) model, a stochastic dynamic programming (SDP) model, and a standard operating policy (SOP). The objective function for this case study is to minimize the squared deficit of the release from the irrigation demand. From the DP algorithm, general operating policies are derived using a neural network procedure (DPN model), and using a multiple linear regression procedure (DPR model). The DP functional equation is solved for 20 years of fortnightly historic data. The field irrigation demand is computed for this study by the modified Penman method with daily meteorological data. The performance of the DPR, DPN, SDP, and SOP models are compared for three years of historic data, using the proposed objective function. The neural network procedure based on the dynamic programming algorithm provided better performance than the other models. ©ASCE.