Impact of a hydropower plant on the downstream reach of a river

  • Zdankus N
  • Vaikasas S
  • Sabas G
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Abstract

The impact of a hydropower plant (HPP) on the environment, first of all on the riverbed of downstream reach as well as on fish communities is analysed in the paper. Frequent switching on and off of turbines has been determined to be the reason of intensive and long-lasting riverbed scour, also significant reduction of fish communities. Each switching on and off of HPP turbines is found to cause a sudden change of water discharge and level in the downstream reach. Water level suddenly drops down after the turbine switches off. Uplift force of ground water flowing from a riverbed destructs a reinforcing layer of large ground particles formed during the self-lining process. Scour of small particles from the bottom sets in. The riverbed deepens significantly until a new reinforcing layer forms. Suggestions are given to slow down turbine switching within technical possibilities. This simple measure allows to increase the length of a reflux wave, to reduce the speed of water level drop and the length of river reach under the scour danger.

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Authors

  • Narimantas Zdankus

  • Saulius Vaikasas

  • Gintautas Sabas

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