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Water 2016, 8(6), 218; doi:10.3390/w8060218

Impact of Cascaded Reservoirs Group on Flow Regime in the Middle and Lower Reaches of the Yangtze River

1
State Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering Science, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China
2
Bureau of Hydrology, Changjiang Water Resources Commission, Wuhan 430010, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Hongyan Li
Received: 12 March 2016 / Revised: 15 May 2016 / Accepted: 17 May 2016 / Published: 24 May 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tackling Complex Water Problems in China under Changing Environment)
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Abstract

A large number of reservoirs have been built in the Yangtze River basin in the last few decades, the operation of which inevitably impacts on natural runoff. It is important to quantify the impacts of a cascade reservoir group operation on the hydrological regime in the downstream Yangtze River. The indicators of hydrologic alteration (IHA), range of variability approach (RVA), and Dundee hydrological regime assessment (DHRA) methods, which are based on five essential characteristics, i.e., magnitude, time, frequency, retardation, and rates of change, have been widely used to quantitatively analyze variation in the hydrological regime before and after the dam construction. The observed flow series at Yichang and Datong hydrological stations, located in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, respectively, are divided into pre- and post-dam construction periods by the Mann-Kendall (MK) rank correlation method. The results of the MK test reveal that the annual minimum discharge at Yichang Station has significantly changed since 2000. The analysis results of the IHA, RVA, and DHAR methods show that the hydrologic regime changed moderately after 1999 and is close to severe change after 2008 at Yichang station; and changed slightly after 1999 (the post-dam construction period) and moderately after 2008 at Datong station. A new typical year assessment method that can avoid the requirement for a long data series was proposed and compared with the RVA and DHAR methods. The results indicate that the hydrologic regime severely changed at Yichang station and moderately changed at Datong in 2014, which is consistent with the results of the above methods. This study further demonstrates that the changes are mainly reflected in the factors related to low flow such as mean discharge from January to March, minimum discharge, frequency and duration of low pulse, and so on. It is expected that further hydrological alterations will occur as the number of large cascade reservoirs constructed and operated in the Yangtze River basin increases. View Full-Text
Keywords: reservoirs; flow regime; Indicators of Hydrologic Alteration (IHA); Range of Variability Approach (RVA); typical year assessment method; Yangtze River reservoirs; flow regime; Indicators of Hydrologic Alteration (IHA); Range of Variability Approach (RVA); typical year assessment method; Yangtze River
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Duan, W.; Guo, S.; Wang, J.; Liu, D. Impact of Cascaded Reservoirs Group on Flow Regime in the Middle and Lower Reaches of the Yangtze River. Water 2016, 8, 218.

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