Implications of the 1987-1990 Droughts for Hydropower Generation at Reclamation Powerplants

by Craig R. Phillips, Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Waterpower '91: A New View of Hydro Resources


Droughts in the western United States beginning in 1987 have caused water supply shortages and required rationing of water in some areas. The reductions in water supply have also impacted hydro generation. This paper examines the significance of the most recent drought period concerning generation at Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) hydro plants. The Sacramento and Colorado River Basins, which have been affected by severe droughts, were selected for examination. The details of the reduced streamflow are examined along with details of the corresponding generation. Whereas generation in several instances was found to be at adverse levels, generation during the drought has been within the range of expectations considered in the risk analyses used as the bases for determining marketable electrical resources.

Subject Headings: Droughts | Hydro power | Power plants | Risk management | Water resources | Electric power | Rivers and streams | Basins | United States | California | Colorado River

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