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Open AccessArticle

A New Tool for Assessing Environmental Impacts of Altering Short-Term Flow and Water Level Regimes

1
Department of Natural Systems and Resources, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
2
Department of Civil Engineering: Hydraulics, Energy and Environment, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
3
Landscape Ecology Group, Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, Umeå University, SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden
4
Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE-901 83 Umeå, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(10), 2913; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12102913
Received: 13 September 2020 / Revised: 9 October 2020 / Accepted: 10 October 2020 / Published: 19 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Resources Management Models for Policy Assessment)
The computational tool InSTHAn (indicators of short-term hydrological alteration) was developed to summarize data on subdaily stream flows or water levels into manageable, comprehensive and ecologically meaningful metrics, and to qualify and quantify their deviation from unaltered states. The pronunciation of the acronym refers to the recording interval of input data (i.e., instant). We compared InSTHAn with the tool COSH-Tool in a characterization of the subdaily flow variability of the Colorado River downstream from the Glen Canyon dam, and in an evaluation of the effects of the dam on this variability. Both tools captured the hydropeaking caused by a dam operation, but only InSTHAn quantified the alteration of key flow attributes, highlighting significant increases in the range of within-day flow variations and in their rates of change. This information is vital to evaluate the potential ecological consequences of the hydrological alteration, and whether they may be irreversible, making InSTHAn a key tool for river flow management. View Full-Text
Keywords: fluvial ecosystems; hydropeaking; InSTHAn tool; short-term flow regimes; subdaily flows; sustainable river management fluvial ecosystems; hydropeaking; InSTHAn tool; short-term flow regimes; subdaily flows; sustainable river management
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MDPI and ACS Style

Bejarano, M.D.; García-Palacios, J.H.; Sordo-Ward, A.; Garrote, L.; Nilsson, C. A New Tool for Assessing Environmental Impacts of Altering Short-Term Flow and Water Level Regimes. Water 2020, 12, 2913.

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