The management of downstream flows from hydropower projects is an essential element of sustainable hydropower development, but there can be disagreement amongst stakeholders over the objectives, magnitude and timing of flows required.
Hydropower projects can significantly alter downstream river flows by changing flow dynamics to follow energy demand, by reducing flow to a bypassed stretch, or by increasing flows due to diversions.
These alterations can lead advocates to call for increased or changed flow regimes for purposes other than hydropower generation, often to maintain and support a river’s ecological and morphological processes and its ability to deliver ecosystem services to people.
Compromises are necessary to satisfy downstream social and ecological objectives in partnership with a profitable and reliable hydropower project. Each case is individual and requires dedicated investigation of flow requirements.
Downstream flows objectives will differ greatly depending on the river, its communities and interactions, and the influence of hydropower on flows. A pragmatic approach is paramount, and collaborative approaches amongst major stakeholders are encouraged to better understand the river's ecological values and how best to protect and enhance these.
Latest associated content
17 May 2019
Commitments underpin the renewable energy transition, manage climate risks and champion good practiceType:News postDate:17 May 2019
4 April 2019
The International Hydropower Association’s Activity and Strategy Report for 2018-2019 is now available online.Type:News postDate:4 April 2019
15 February 2019
Nominations are now open for the International Hydropower Association’s prestigious Mosonyi Award for Excellence in Hydropower.Type:News postDate:15 February 2019
14 February 2019Type:News postDate:14 February 2019
13 December 2018Type:News postDate:13 December 2018