Multifunctional weirs can be used to maintain water supply during dry seasons and to improve downstream water quality during drought conditions through discharge based on retained flux. Sixteen multifunctional weirs were recently constructed in four river systems as part of the Four Rivers Restoration Project. In this study, three multifunctional weirs in the Geum River Basin were investigated to analyze the environmental effects of multifunctional weir operation on downstream flow. To determine seasonal vulnerability to drought, the basin was evaluated using the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI). Furthermore, the downstream flow regime and the effect on water quality improvement of a coordinated dam–multifunctional weir operation controlled by: (a) a rainfall–runoff model; (b) a reservoir optimization model; and (c) a water quality model, were examined. A runoff estimate at each major location in the Geum River Basin was performed using the water quality model, and examined variation in downstream water quality depending on the operational scenario of each irrigation facility such as dams and weirs. Although the water quality was improved by the coordinated operation of the dams and weirs, when the discharged water quality is poor, the downstream water quality is not improved. Therefore, it is necessary to first improve the discharged water quality on the lower Geum River. Improvement of the water quality of main stream in the Geum River is important, but water quality from tributaries should also be improved. By applying the estimated runoff data to the reservoir optimization model, these scenarios will be utilized as basic parameters for assessing the optimal operation of the river.
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