Special Issue "Sediment Management: Hydropower Improvement and Habitat Evaluation"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Erosion and Sediment Transport".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Christoph Hauer
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Christian Doppler Laboratory vor Sediment research and management, BOKU—University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Department for Water–Atmosphere–Environment, Institute for Water Management, Hydrology and Hydraulic Engineering, Muthgasse 107, 1190 Vienna, Austria
Interests: computer-aided simulation; geomorphology; hydraulics; hydrobiology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It is predicted that 60% of all new energy investments over the next 20 years will be in renewables. It is estimated that new hydropower production will represent 25% of all new renewables, primarily due to the hydropower production potential of China, Africa, Latin America, and South-East Asia. Also in Europe, a growth of hydropower production is aimed to achieve the 2050 emission targets envisioned by the European Union. However, some of the future main economic, technical, and ecological challenges are posed by the deposition, treatment, and disturbed dynamics of sediments in river catchments, which significantly reduce the future market potential of hydropower. Because of a lack of knowledge about these sedimentological challenges (e.g., lack of process understanding), various huge economical, technical, and ecological problems with great relevance for the hydropower industry, water management authorities, and the society, are emerging.

The aim of this Special Issue is to address the state of the art as well as shortcoming and future challenges of sediment management in river systems, focusing on hydropower improvement and habitat evaluation. The presented research should provide new standards for the technological, ecological, and economical optimization of hydropower management and novel approaches to a sustainable sediment management in industrialized rivers based on (i) advanced process understanding, (ii) environmental impact assessments, and (iii) the development of new monitoring/modelling technologies.

Dr. Christoph Hauer
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • sustainability
  • hydropower
  • habitat assessment
  • river management

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Sediment Management: Hydropower Improvement and Habitat Evaluation
Water 2020, 12(12), 3470; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12123470 - 10 Dec 2020
Viewed by 384
Abstract
It is predicted that 60% of all new energy investments over the next 20 years will be in renewables [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sediment Management: Hydropower Improvement and Habitat Evaluation)

Research

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Article
Experimental Study at the Reservoir Head of Run-of-River Hydropower Plants in Gravel Bed Rivers. Part II: Effects of Reservoir Flushing on Delta Degradation
Water 2020, 12(11), 3038; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12113038 - 29 Oct 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1093
Abstract
Run-of-river hydropower plants (RoR HPPs) are capable of interrupting the sediment connectivity of many alpine rivers. Still, there is a lack of systematical investigations of possible sediment management strategies for small and medium sized RoR HPPs. This study deals with the headwater section [...] Read more.
Run-of-river hydropower plants (RoR HPPs) are capable of interrupting the sediment connectivity of many alpine rivers. Still, there is a lack of systematical investigations of possible sediment management strategies for small and medium sized RoR HPPs. This study deals with the headwater section of an impoundment and the approach of sediment remobilization during drawdown operations. Therefore, a typical medium sized gravel bed river having a width of 20 m, a mean bed slope of 0.005, a mean flow rate of 22 m3/s, and a 1-year flood flow of 104 m3/s is recreated by a 1:20 scaled physical model. Heterogenous sediment mixtures were used under mobile-bed conditions, representing a range of 14–120 mm in nature. During the experiments, the flow rate was set to be 70% of the 1-year flood (HQ1) regarding on the ability to mobilize all sediment fractions. The possibility to remobilize delta depositions by (partial) drawdown flushing within a reasonable period (≈9 h in 1:1 scale) was shown by the results. The erosion of existing headwater delta deposition was found to be retrogressive and twice as fast as the preceding delta formation process. A spatiotemporal erosion scheme points out these findings. This supports the strategy of a reservoir drawdown at flood events of high reoccurrence rate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sediment Management: Hydropower Improvement and Habitat Evaluation)
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Article
Chivor’s Life Extension Project (CLEP): From Sediment Management to Development of a New Intake System
Water 2020, 12(10), 2743; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12102743 - 30 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 835
Abstract
Sedimentation is an important issue that has been studied for the watershed of reservoirs, since it increases operational costs of hydropower installations, reduces the life expectancy, and compromises the generation capacity due to volume reduction. This work addresses the implementation of Chivor’s Life [...] Read more.
Sedimentation is an important issue that has been studied for the watershed of reservoirs, since it increases operational costs of hydropower installations, reduces the life expectancy, and compromises the generation capacity due to volume reduction. This work addresses the implementation of Chivor’s Life Extension Project (CLEP), developed in order to extend the life of La Esmeralda reservoir, which is used for power generation in Colombia. Sediment dynamics studies are first described and connected to the need of the AES Corporation to extend the life expectancy of the Chivor Hydropower Project. The geotechnical and hydraulic designs are described and the main considerations and tools for the execution of such a project are addressed. The construction of the new intake system was developed under favorable geomorphological, geological, and hydrogeological conditions, and the project is being developed without affecting the current operation. Such an innovative project is the first of its class in Colombia and goes from studies of sediment transport and sediment management strategies in the watershed to the design and construction of new intakes, in order to extend the life of an existing 1000-MW (6% of Colombia’s demand) powerplant for 50 more years, contributing to a sustainable energy supply for the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sediment Management: Hydropower Improvement and Habitat Evaluation)
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Article
Experimental Study at the Reservoir Head of Run-of-River Hydropower Plants in Gravel Bed Rivers. Part I: Delta Formation at Operation Level
Water 2020, 12(7), 2035; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12072035 - 17 Jul 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1015
Abstract
This study concerns scaled physical model tests of the delta formation process at the head of a run-of-river hydropower plant (RoR). It forms part of a larger research project to provide a scientific base for RoR sediment management strategies in medium-sized gravel bed [...] Read more.
This study concerns scaled physical model tests of the delta formation process at the head of a run-of-river hydropower plant (RoR). It forms part of a larger research project to provide a scientific base for RoR sediment management strategies in medium-sized gravel bed rivers. The physical model consisted of an idealized river having a width of 20 m, a mean slope of 0.005, a mean flow rate of 22 m3/s and a 1-year flood flow of 104 m3/s. The model scale was 1:20. For the experiments, five different grain sizes were used, covering a range of 14 to 120 mm at 1:1 scale. Experiments were carried out under mobile-bed conditions at flow rates which correspond to 50%–80% of a 1-year flood HQ1. Even at the head of the reservoir, which is least influenced by the backwater effect of the RoR, sediment transport practically ceases for sediment fractions >14 mm for a flow rate of 0.7 × HQ1. The whole sediment load coming from the undisturbed upstream section accumulates at the head of the reservoir. This delta formation is accompanied by a substantial rise in water levels. A spatio-temporal scheme of the delta formation was derived from the experiments. The study proved that the delta formation increases the flood risk at the head of the reservoir. Conversely, reservoir drawdowns at flood events of high probability may be a promising strategy to enhance sediment connectivity under the specified boundary conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sediment Management: Hydropower Improvement and Habitat Evaluation)
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Article
Controlled Reservoir Drawdown—Challenges for Sediment Management and Integrative Monitoring: An Austrian Case Study—Part A: Reach Scale
Water 2020, 12(4), 1058; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12041058 - 08 Apr 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 926
Abstract
For Europe, a reduction of 80% of the potential storage volume due to reservoir sedimentation is predicted by 2080. Sedimentation processes trigger the decrease of the storage volume and a related restriction in hydropower production. Further, the artificial downstream flushing of deposited fines [...] Read more.
For Europe, a reduction of 80% of the potential storage volume due to reservoir sedimentation is predicted by 2080. Sedimentation processes trigger the decrease of the storage volume and a related restriction in hydropower production. Further, the artificial downstream flushing of deposited fines has manifold effects on the aquatic ecology, including changes in morphology and sediment quality, as well as increased turbidity and subsequent stress for aquatic species. However, it is common to lower the water surface of reservoirs for technical inspections, which is not comparable to reservoir flushing operations. The presented case study deals with such a controlled drawdown beyond the operational level of the Gepatsch reservoir (Tyrol, Austria). Based on the awareness of possible ecological consequences, an advanced set of measures and an integrative monitoring design, consisting of a detailed event-based quantification of suspended sediments, changes in the morphology, especially with respect to fine sediments, and analyses of the biological quality element fish on the reach scale along the Inn River have been developed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sediment Management: Hydropower Improvement and Habitat Evaluation)
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Article
Controlled Reservoir Drawdown—Challenges for Sediment Management and Integrative Monitoring: An Austrian Case Study—Part B: Local Scale
Water 2020, 12(4), 1055; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12041055 - 08 Apr 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 820
Abstract
The present case study deals with a controlled drawdown beyond the operational level of the Gepatsch reservoir (Austria). Based on the awareness of potential ecological consequences, an advanced set of measures was conducted and an integrative monitoring design was implemented. This pre- and [...] Read more.
The present case study deals with a controlled drawdown beyond the operational level of the Gepatsch reservoir (Austria). Based on the awareness of potential ecological consequences, an advanced set of measures was conducted and an integrative monitoring design was implemented. This pre- and post-event monitoring included measurements regarding the cross sectional variability and habitat-related turbidity, freeze-core sampling to obtain knowledge on fine sediment infiltration and an evaluation of the macroinvertebrate communities as well as fish egg development (salmonid incubation). The results of the sedimentological as well as biological investigations show a negligible impact on the downstream located aquatic system due to the controlled drawdown of the Gepatsch reservoir. In addition, recommendations based on the findings from this study regarding possible methods for local scale monitoring can be given. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sediment Management: Hydropower Improvement and Habitat Evaluation)
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Article
HEM Impoundment—A Numerical Prediction Tool for the Water Framework Directive Assessment of Impounded River Reaches
Water 2020, 12(4), 1045; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12041045 - 07 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 717
Abstract
A novel prediction tool is presented as a component of the Habitat Evaluation Model (HEM), which allows the assessment of the ecological status of impounded water bodies based on environmental factors that were shown in literature to correlate with the abundance of benthic [...] Read more.
A novel prediction tool is presented as a component of the Habitat Evaluation Model (HEM), which allows the assessment of the ecological status of impounded water bodies based on environmental factors that were shown in literature to correlate with the abundance of benthic macro-invertebrates. Main model parameters are the observed grain sizes and depth-averaged flow velocities obtained from a hydrodynamic simulation. The tool was tested in three Austrian river reaches. It was found that the river lengths predicted to be ecologically affected by the impoundments were substantially shorter for mean flow conditions than previously assessed when employing a physical mapping approach. The differences disappeared for low discharge conditions. The numerical prediction tool allows us to perform a status assessment for discharge conditions, which are potentially more representative of the annual discharge spectrum than those within the in-situ observable range. This property, thus, bears the potential to facilitate the recommendation of sediment management strategies in impounded river reaches in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sediment Management: Hydropower Improvement and Habitat Evaluation)
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