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Informed Decision Making Process for Managing Environmental Flows in Small River Basins

Informed Decision Making Process for Managing Environmental Flows in Small River Basins Numerous examples exist worldwide of partial or complete alteration to the natural flow regime of river systems as a consequence of large scale water abstraction from upstream reaches. The effects may not be conspicuous in the case of very large rivers, but the ecosystems of smaller rivers or streams may be completely destroyed over a period of time. While restoration of the natural flow regime may not be possible, at present there is increased effort to implement restoration by regulating environmental flow. This study investigates the development of an environmental flow management model at an icon site in the small river basin of Bharathapuzha, west India. To determine optimal environmental flow regimes, a historic flow model based on data assimilated since 1978 indicated a satisfactory minimum flow depth for river ecosystem sustenance is 0.907 m (28.8 m3/s), a value also obtained from the hydraulic model; however, as three of the reservoirs were already operational at this time a flow depth of 0.922 m is considered a more viable estimate. Analysis of daily stream flow in 1997–2006, indicated adequate flow regimes during the monsoons in June–November, but that sections of the river dried out in December–May with alarming water quality conditions near the river mouth. Furthermore, the preferred minimum ‘dream’ flow regime expressed by stakeholders of the region is a water depth of 1.548 m, which exceeds 50 % of the flood discharge in July. Water could potentially be conserved for environmental flow purposes by (1) the de-siltation of existing reservoirs or (2) reducing water spillage in the transfer between river basins. Ultimately environmental flow management of the region requires the establishment of a co-ordinated management body and the regular assimilation of water flow information from which science based decisions are made, to ensure both economic and environmental concerns are adequately addressed. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of The Institution of Engineers (India): Series A Springer Journals

Informed Decision Making Process for Managing Environmental Flows in Small River Basins

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2013 by The Institution of Engineers (India)
Subject
Engineering; Civil Engineering
ISSN
2250-2149
eISSN
2250-2157
DOI
10.1007/s40030-013-0043-x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Numerous examples exist worldwide of partial or complete alteration to the natural flow regime of river systems as a consequence of large scale water abstraction from upstream reaches. The effects may not be conspicuous in the case of very large rivers, but the ecosystems of smaller rivers or streams may be completely destroyed over a period of time. While restoration of the natural flow regime may not be possible, at present there is increased effort to implement restoration by regulating environmental flow. This study investigates the development of an environmental flow management model at an icon site in the small river basin of Bharathapuzha, west India. To determine optimal environmental flow regimes, a historic flow model based on data assimilated since 1978 indicated a satisfactory minimum flow depth for river ecosystem sustenance is 0.907 m (28.8 m3/s), a value also obtained from the hydraulic model; however, as three of the reservoirs were already operational at this time a flow depth of 0.922 m is considered a more viable estimate. Analysis of daily stream flow in 1997–2006, indicated adequate flow regimes during the monsoons in June–November, but that sections of the river dried out in December–May with alarming water quality conditions near the river mouth. Furthermore, the preferred minimum ‘dream’ flow regime expressed by stakeholders of the region is a water depth of 1.548 m, which exceeds 50 % of the flood discharge in July. Water could potentially be conserved for environmental flow purposes by (1) the de-siltation of existing reservoirs or (2) reducing water spillage in the transfer between river basins. Ultimately environmental flow management of the region requires the establishment of a co-ordinated management body and the regular assimilation of water flow information from which science based decisions are made, to ensure both economic and environmental concerns are adequately addressed.

Journal

Journal of The Institution of Engineers (India): Series ASpringer Journals

Published: Oct 25, 2013

References