Ecosystem impacts of Alpine water intakes for hydropower the challenge of sediment management
Gabbud C., Lane N.
The natural flow hydrological characteristics (such as the magnitude, frequency,
duration, timing, and rate of change of discharge) of Alpine streams, dominated
by snowmelt and glacier melt, have been established for many years. More
recently, the ecosystems that they sustain have been described and explained.
However, natural Alpine flow regimes may be strongly modified by hydroelectric power production, which impacts upon both river discharge and sediment transfer,
and hence on downstream flora and fauna. The impacts of barrages or dams
have been well studied. However, there is a second type of flow regulation, associated with flow abstraction at intakes where the water is transferred laterally,
either to another valley for storage, or at altitude within the same valley for eventual release downstream.