Our study focused on quantifying the alterations of streamflow at a weir site due to the construction of a mini-hydropower plant in the Gurugoda Oya (Sri Lanka), and evaluating the spatial responses of benthic macroinvertebrates to altered flow regime. The HEC-HMS 3.5 model was applied to the Gurugoda Oya sub-catchment to generate streamflows for the time period 1991-2013. Pre-weir flows were compared to post-weir flows with 32 Indicators of Hydrologic Alteration using the range of variability approach (RVA). Concurrently, six study sites were established upstream and downstream of the weir, and benthic macroinvertebrates were sampled monthly from May to November 2013 (during the wet season). The key water physico-chemical parameters were also determined. RVA analysis showed that environmental flow was not maintained below the weir. The mean rate of non-attainment was similar to 45% suggesting a moderate level of hydrologic alteration. Benthic macroinvertebrate communities significantly differed between the study sites located above and below the weir, with a richness reduction due to water diversion. The spatial distribution of zoobenthic fauna was governed by water depth, dissolved oxygen content and volume flow rate. Our work provides first evidence on the effects of small hydropower on river ecosystem in a largely understudied region. Studies like this are important to setting-up adequate e-flows.

Impacts of streamflow alteration on benthic macroinvertebrates by mini‑hydro diversion in Sri Lanka

Silvia Quadroni;
2021

Abstract

Our study focused on quantifying the alterations of streamflow at a weir site due to the construction of a mini-hydropower plant in the Gurugoda Oya (Sri Lanka), and evaluating the spatial responses of benthic macroinvertebrates to altered flow regime. The HEC-HMS 3.5 model was applied to the Gurugoda Oya sub-catchment to generate streamflows for the time period 1991-2013. Pre-weir flows were compared to post-weir flows with 32 Indicators of Hydrologic Alteration using the range of variability approach (RVA). Concurrently, six study sites were established upstream and downstream of the weir, and benthic macroinvertebrates were sampled monthly from May to November 2013 (during the wet season). The key water physico-chemical parameters were also determined. RVA analysis showed that environmental flow was not maintained below the weir. The mean rate of non-attainment was similar to 45% suggesting a moderate level of hydrologic alteration. Benthic macroinvertebrate communities significantly differed between the study sites located above and below the weir, with a richness reduction due to water diversion. The spatial distribution of zoobenthic fauna was governed by water depth, dissolved oxygen content and volume flow rate. Our work provides first evidence on the effects of small hydropower on river ecosystem in a largely understudied region. Studies like this are important to setting-up adequate e-flows.
Munasinghe, Dinuke S. N.; Najim, Mohamed M. M.; Quadroni, Silvia; Musthafa, Muneeb M.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11383/2142171
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