Identifying the key water levels in reservoir operation on ecological objectives

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

This paper investigates the influences of reservoir water level variations of the operation rule curves on different objectives, especially on ecological objectives. Five representative ecological objectives are selected besides industrial and domestic (I&D) and agricultural water supply objectives. They can reflect the impacts of reservoir operation on different attributes of ecological flow regime in the Biliuhe Reservoir case study, Northeastern China. Sensitivities of water supply and ecological objectives caused by water level variations of I&D and agricultural operation rule curves are analyzed by using a variance-based sensitivity analysis method – Sobol's method. Results show that impacts of individual water levels and their interactions on ecological objectives are very different. Also the ecological objectives do not always conflict with water supply objectives. This study provides new insights for reservoir managers to improve downstream aquatic ecosystem by adjusting water levels not only at individual time periods but also at some interacting time periods. Furthermore, it helps us better understand the influence mechanism of water level changes on different objectives, and provides guidance for the development of reservoir operation rules.

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