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River infrastructure planning decision support tool

Feierfeil, Tim and O'Hanley, Jesse R. and Kauppert, Klemens (2019) River infrastructure planning decision support tool. Technical report. European Union (KAR id:98804)


A decision support tool has been developed to optimise environmental and socioeconomic trade-offs associated with river infrastructure (i.e. barriers), including river connectivity, hydropower generation, and shipping and other costs. The model extends previous work by considering (i) multithreaded river sections, essential for estimating river connectivity in the presence of diverted channels for hydropower and shipping, (ii) backwater effects caused by the lowering or raising of artificial in-stream structures, which , in turn, affect hydropower generation potential and transport capacity of shipping vessels, and (iii) the integration of realistic cost functions for estimating the cost of hydropower installation/retrofitting and cross-port shipping of goods by a heterogeneous fleet of vessels. To demonstrate the applicability of the planning tool, a database for the Neckar River in Germany was created. The database contains more than 1000 existing river barriers and more than 4,000km of river and includes detailed information on river flow, hydropower, and waterborne traffic.

The planning tool is designed to find the best combination of river infrastructure modification, mitigation, and removal actions in order to optimise three key performance indicators (KPIs): 1) river connectivity based on a generalisation of the well-known Dendritic Connectivity Index, 2) hydropower potential/revenue and 3) total cost, broken down by the cost of structural engineering works, installation and retrofitting of hydropower, and annual shipping. The model focuses specifically on the socioeconomic benefits of hydropower and shipping, as these are the two main human uses of rivers within the Neckar catchment. The model could be readily modified to consider other environmental and socioeconomic factors, which may be important in other planning areas, such as irrigation, water supply, fishing, recreation, and water purification.

The planning model has been specially configured to examine ten scenarios for adaptive barrier management. The results show which river infrastructure modification, mitigation, and removal actions could be undertaken to maximise connectivity, maximise hydropower, or minimise total cost subject to defined river connectivity and energy production targets.

Item Type: Reports and Papers (Technical report)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HA Statistics > HA33 Management Science
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD29 Operational Research - Applications
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH541 Ecology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH75 Conservation (Biology)
Divisions: Divisions > Kent Business School - Division > Department of Analytics, Operations and Systems
Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: Jesse O'Hanley
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2022 14:01 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2022 17:01 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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