Reservoir operation of dams during floods is a complex, nonlinear, nonstationary control process and is significantly affected by hydrological conditions which are not predictable beforehand. In this paper, an operation method based on fuzzy logic control is presented for the operation of spillway gates of reservoirs during floods. The rule base of fuzzy logic controller is optimally determined by using tabu search algorithm which is a modern popular heuristic algorithm. Simulation results demonstrate that the proposed approach based on fuzzy logic controller designed by using tabu search produces an accurate and efficient solution for the reservoir operation of dams. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.