Cost-Effective Water Quality Management and Risks

by Richard J. Ruane, TVA, Special Projects & Research, Program, Chattanooga, TN, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water for Resource Development


Environmental regulations typically specify applicable streamflow conditions for compliance with water quality standards. The level of streamflow specified is one of the most significant factors that affect water quality management decisions. When streamflow is not regulated by reservoir operations, the applicable low-flow conditions are normally specified by a duration/recurrence term such as minimum 7Q10 flow (i. e. , the minimum average flow over a 7-day period with a recurrence interval of 10 years). Another approach would be to consider a range of minimum flow conditions and associated frequency of occurrence in terms of percent of time, together with respective degrees of defined impairment to aquatic life. This latter approach is more cost-effective and substantively meets the environmental goal for protection of aquatic life within defined risks. This concept is illustrated by an example for an unregulated river.

Subject Headings: Water quality | Quality control | Risk management | Financial management | Water pollution | Flow duration | Standards and codes | Reservoirs

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