Developing Water Quality Enhancement Techniques for Hydropower Releases

Project ID: 421
Principal Investigator: Tracy Vermeyen
Research Topic: Water Quality
Funded Fiscal Years: 2004, 2005 and 2006
Keywords: None

Research Question

* How does Reclamation meet release water quality requirements while maintaining hydropower generating capacity and water deliveries?

Need and Benefit

The purpose of this research program is to monitor, document, and improve the performance of Reclamation's selective withdrawal structures, as well as developing or evaluating techniques used to monitor and improve reservoir water quality. The following objectives describe the activities required to achieve the near-term goals of this program:

* Conduct field measurements of head losses at different submergences to determine loading on the structure and the internal velocities so that head loss coefficients can be determined.

* Evaluate existing submergence criteria for adequacy in protecting the surrounding infrastructure and hydroelectric equipment.

* Measure approach velocities using acoustic velocimeters or acoustic Doppler current profilers to determine the withdrawal zone characteristics. Withdrawal zone information is especially useful in developing numerical models to predict the release temperatures and/or other water quality parameters.

* Collect a comprehensive operational data set which can be used in a one-dimensional (1D) selective withdrawal computer model. This model can be used to determine the theoretical flow net around each individual penstock intake structure. Withdrawal temperatures predicted by the model will be compared to actual penstock release temperatures to evaluate the effects of leakage, topography, and adjacent intakes on selective withdrawal performance. This data will also be useful for future reservoir operation models and decision support systems that will assist project managers in deliver water with suitable quality.

* Develop recommendations for improving selective withdrawal performance. In addition, data collected during this project may lead to improvements in existing or future temperature forecast models used for real-time reservoir operations.

* Develop techniques to monitor reservoir currents and mixing, withdrawal zones, and density currents.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Bureau of Reclamation Review

The following documents were reviewed by experts in fields relating to this project's study and findings. The results were determined to be achieved using valid means.

Hungry Horse Selective Withdrawal System Evaluation 2000-2003 (final, PDF, 2.6MB)
By Tracy Vermeyen
Report completed on September 22, 2006

Reclamation designed, constructed, and evaluated a unique selective withdrawal system use to control power plant release temperatures from Hungry Horse reservoir into the south fork of the Flathead River in Montana. In 1994, preliminary studies and a final design were completed. The selective withdrawal system was constructed and installed in 1995. Initial hydraulic and biological performance data indicated the system conforms well to results from preliminary studies.

Not Reviewed

The following documents were not reviewed. Statements made in these documents are those of the authors. The findings have not been verified.

Lake Natoma Temperature Curtain and Channel Modification Study, 2001-2002 (final, PDF, 2.6MB)
By Tracy Vermeyen
Report completed on August 11, 2005

This report describes, in a conceptual way, the hydrodynamics of cold water movement in Lake Natoma and how it impacts water temperatures in the lower American River. Selective withdrawal from Folsom Lake allows the cool water releases from the reservoir to be delivered to the lower American River. Unfortunately, the temperature of the Folsom releases can increase up to 3 °F because of mixing with warmer water stored in Lake Natoma.

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Last Updated: 6/22/20