Optimizing Hydropower Potential Using Water Management Techniques

by Barry L. Butterfield, HDR Inc, Omaha, NE, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water Power '87


The development of hydropower facilities at existing dams creates an interesting dilemma to both public and private hydro developers: Is the proposed development the best-adapted use of the site when compared to other existing uses which are competing for the same supply of water. Irrigation, recreation and instream flow uses create competition for the land and water resources because of conflicting needs and demand patterns. When a hydropower demand is overlaid upon these uses, the size and output of the development are frequently constrained in order to conform with historical water use patterns, site structural features, or other factors. The Uncompahgre Hydropower Project, located near Montrose in southwestern Colorado, was initially fettered by such constraints. The project was initially perceived as a series of five low-head sites to be constructed adjacent to an irrigation canal. The largest of the five sites was slightly less than four megawatts (MW), and collectively the sites would produce an estimated 72,580 megawatt-hours (MWH) per year. After a more intensive study of the region, the developers learned the capacity of the project could be expanded to nearly 45 MW that will produce an estimated 228,000 MWH of energy per year.

Subject Headings: Hydro power | Water management | Water supply systems | Existing buildings | Water-based recreation | Water demand | Historic sites | Power plants | Colorado | United States

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