A methodology based on the range of variability approach (RVA) is presented for determining the feasible combinations of flow diversion and instream flow release for a projected diversion weir. The RVA is designed to support efforts to manage water system operations in a manner that minimizes impacts on natural hydrologic variability, and thereby minimizes ecological impacts. This approach is used to evaluate the prediversion flows and establish the riverine management targets in terms of 32 hydrologic parameters called indicators of hydrologic alteration (IHAs). The goal is to make the postdiversion flows attain the target ranges at the same frequency as that which occurred in the prediversion flow regime. A weir-operation simulation approach is employed to compute the postdiversion flows. Based on the simulation results, the degree of hydrologic alteration under various combinations of flow diversion and release is evaluated and plotted as a contour diagram for each IHA. Overlapping the contour diagrams of the 32 IHAs, three overall hydrologic-alteration regions are constructed. The feasible region, i.e., the overall low-alteration region, is defined by the combinations of flow diversion and instream flow release for which none of the 32 IHAs is significantly altered. The feasible combinations of flow diversion and release are further evaluated with their corresponding water-supply shortage indices. The proposed methodology allows for the incorporation of both water-supply and environmental protection concerns in water resources planning and management. The merits of this methodology are demonstrated with an application to the proposed Taitung diversion weir in Taiwan.
Journal of water resources planning and management 130(5), pp.395-404