Modeling of temperature and turbidity in a natural lake and a reservoir connected by pumped-storage operations

Pumped-storage (PS) systems are used to store electric energy as potential energy for release during peak demand. We investigate the impacts of a planned 1000 MW PS scheme connecting Lago Bianco with Lago di Poschiavo (Switzerland) on temperature and particle mass concentration in both basins. The upper (turbid) basin is a reservoir receiving large amounts of fine particles from the partially glaciated watershed, while the lower basin is a much clearer natural lake. Stratification, temperature and particle concentrations in the two basins were simulated with and without PS for four different hydrological conditions and 27 years of meteorological forcing using the software CE-QUAL-W2. The simulations showed that the PS operations lead to an increase in temperature in both basins during most of the year. The increase is most pronounced (up to 4 degrees C) in the upper hypolimnion of the natural lake toward the end of summer stratification and is partially due to frictional losses in the penstocks, pumps and turbines. The remainder of the warming is from intense coupling to the atmosphere while water resides in the shallower upper reservoir. These impacts are most pronounced during warm and dry years, when the upper reservoir is strongly heated and the effects are least concealed by floods. The exchange of water between the two basins relocates particles from the upper reservoir to the lower lake, where they accumulate during summer in the upper hypolimnion (10 to 20 mg L-1) but also to some extent decrease light availability in the trophic surface layer.

Published in:
Water Resources Research, 48
Washington, Amer Geophysical Union

 Record created 2013-06-10, last modified 2018-03-17

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