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Sustainable surface water storage development: measuring economic benefits and ecological and social impacts of reservoir system configurations

  • Eriyagama, Nishadi
  • Smakhtin, V.
  • Udamulla, L.
Publication Date
Jan 20, 2022
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This paper illustrates an approach to measuring economic benefits and ecological and social impacts of various configurations of reservoir systems for basin-wide planning. It suggests indicators and examines their behavior under several reservoir arrangement scenarios using two river basins in Sri Lanka as examples. A river regulation index is modified to take into account the volume of flow captured by reservoirs and their placement and type. Indices of connectivity illustrate that the lowest river connectivity in a basin results from a single new reservoir placed on the main stem of a previously unregulated river between the two locations that command 50% and 75% of the basin area. The ratio of the total affected population to the total number of beneficiaries is shown to increase as the cumulative reservoir capacity in a river basin increases. An integrated index comparing the performance of different reservoir system configurations shows that while results differ from basin to basin, the cumulative effects of a large number of small reservoirs may be comparable to those with a few large reservoirs, especially at higher storage capacities.

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