Dynamic water allocation policies improve the global efficiency of storage systems

Water impoundment by dams strongly affects the river natural flow regime, its attributes and the related ecosystem biodiversity. Fostering the sustainability of water uses e.g., hydropower systems thus implies searching for innovative operational policies able to generate Dynamic Environmental Flows (DEF) that mimic natural flow variability. The objective of this study is to propose a Direct Policy Search (DPS) framework based on defining dynamic flow release rules to improve the global efficiency of storage systems. The water allocation policies proposed for dammed systems are an extension of previously developed flow redistribution rules for small hydropower plants by Razurel et al. (2016). The mathematical form of the Fermi-Dirac statistical distribution applied to lake equations for the stored water in the dam is used to formulate non-proportional redistribution rules that partition the flow for energy production and environmental use. While energy production is computed from technical data, riverine ecological benefits associated with DEF are computed by integrating the Weighted Usable Area (WUA) for fishes with Richter's hydrological indicators. Then, multiobjective evolutionary algorithms (MOEAs) are applied to build ecological versus economic efficiency plot and locate its (Pareto) frontier. This study benchmarks two MOEAs (NSGA II and Borg MOEA) and compares their efficiency in terms of the quality of Pareto's frontier and computational cost. A detailed analysis of dam characteristics is performed to examine their impact on the global system efficiency and choice of the best redistribution rule. Finally, it is found that non-proportional flow releases can statistically improve the global efficiency, specifically the ecological one, of the hydropower system when compared to constant minimal flows. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Published in:
Advances in Water Resources, 104, 55-64
Oxford, Elsevier

 Record created 2017-03-25, last modified 2018-01-28

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