Reservoirs play a critically important role in supplying water for human uses. However, sedimentation limits storage capabilities and increases risk for aging infrastructure. The objectives of this paper are to synthesize both general sediment management strategies and past sediment management efforts in Taiwan in order to identify the barriers to more effective sediment management in reservoirs globally. A review of the broader literature and six Taiwan case studies was conducted to examine the characteristics, limitations, costs, and effectiveness of different sediment management strategies. Results highlight how social barriers play an important role in limiting reservoir sustainability, particularly the crisis-response approach to addressing sedimentation and the low priority for sediment management relative to competing objectives, such as tourism. Technical barriers are driven primarily by the engineering and costs of retrofitting existing dams and site conditions that may inhibit particular practices at any given site. Results also highlight tradeoffs in the effectiveness, costs, and time efficiency of various sediment management strategies in restoring storage capacity. The high sediment loads and rapid filling of reservoirs in Taiwan provide early insight into the management issues that are emerging worldwide, and these results emphasize the need for proactive engineering and management of sediment in reservoirs globally.
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