You are here

Downstream flows

Introduction

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.

Read more

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

  • The Nature Conservancy

    Why The Nature Conservancy is sponsoring the World Hydropower Congress

    This coming May, The Nature Conservancy will serve as a main sponsor of IHA’s 2015 World Hydropower Congress in Beijing, along with major hydropower companies such as China Three Gorges Corporation and EDF. 

    Type:
    Blog post
    Date:
    5 December 2014
  • Hydropower generation and potential around the world

    This short video introduces the role of hydropower in the world today and the future challenges for sustainable development.

    Type:
    Blog post
    Date:
    22 August 2014
  • Giulio Boccaletti

    Interview: Giulio Boccaletti, The Nature Conservancy

    Giulio Boccaletti, Ph.D., is the managing director for global water at The Nature Conservancy. He spoke with us about sustainability as a structural issue, and the importance of dialogue between NGOs and the hydropower community.

    Type:
    Blog post
    Date:
    29 April 2014
  • Sustainability

    Five ways to improve the sustainability of your hydropower project

    The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol is a tool for assessing the sustainability of hydropower projects against a comprehensive range of social, environmental, technical and economic considerations.

    Type:
    Blog post
    Date:
    13 February 2014
  • The protocol explained

    The protocol explained

    We have launched a poster to introduce people to the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol as part of the Hydro4LIFE project.

    Type:
    Blog post
    Date:
    16 December 2013

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Downstream flows