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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

A New Tool for Assessing Environmental Impacts of Altering Short-Term Flow and Water Level Regimes

Bejarano, Maria Dolores; Garcia-Palacios, Jaime H.; Sordo-Ward, Alvaro; Garrote, Luis; Nilsson, Christer

Abstract

The computational tool InSTHAn (indicators of short-term hydrological alteration) was developed to summarize data on subdaily stream flows or water levels into manageable, comprehensive and ecologically meaningful metrics, and to qualify and quantify their deviation from unaltered states. The pronunciation of the acronym refers to the recording interval of input data (i.e., instant). We compared InSTHAn with the tool COSH-Tool in a characterization of the subdaily flow variability of the Colorado River downstream from the Glen Canyon dam, and in an evaluation of the effects of the dam on this variability. Both tools captured the hydropeaking caused by a dam operation, but only InSTHAn quantified the alteration of key flow attributes, highlighting significant increases in the range of within-day flow variations and in their rates of change. This information is vital to evaluate the potential ecological consequences of the hydrological alteration, and whether they may be irreversible, making InSTHAn a key tool for river flow management.

Keywords

fluvial ecosystems; hydropeaking; InSTHAn tool; short-term flow regimes; subdaily flows; sustainable river management

Published in

Water
2020, volume: 12, number: 10, article number: 2913
Publisher: MDPI

Authors' information

Bejarano, Maria Dolores
Universidad Politecnica de Madrid
Garcia-Palacios, Jaime H.
Universidad Politecnica de Madrid
Sordo-Ward, Alvaro
Universidad Politecnica de Madrid
Garrote, Luis
Universidad Politecnica de Madrid
Umeå University
Nilsson, Christer (Nilsson, Christer)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies

UKÄ Subject classification

Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/w12102913

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/109005