Hydropower and the Water Framework Directive

JBA Hydropower assessments
Hydropower assessments

Our Fluvial Geomorphologists have completed geomorphological impact assessments at a number of hydropower schemes across the UK including the River Carmyle in Glasgow, River Avon in Bristol and River Ouse in Yorkshire. Our geomorphologists work alongside our ecologists, fisheries experts and engineering design teams to develop sustainable design solutions.

Hydropower is a great renewable electricity source however, with our ever-changing climate, droughts and the environmentally sensitive nature of our rivers they can pose a threat if designed incorrectly. By working collaboratively with hydropower design teams, we can look to ensure that the geomorphological environment of our rivers is not damaged and also minimise the effects of future climate change.

Water Framework Directive – Geomorphology impact assessments

In channel works, such as hydropower scheme development, require assessment under the Water Framework Directive (WFD). This is to ensure no adverse impact is created which could damage the river’s condition in the future and prevent the river meeting future targets established by the WFD.

Analysis of the flow abstraction regime and the impact of the annual Flow Duration Curve is undertaken, providing a qualitative assessment of the predicted impact on sediment transport.

Identifying existing sediment transport

JBA Hydropower assessments
Hydropower assessments

Hydromorphological walkover assessments are typically undertaken in combination with the flow regime analysis to identify the existing sediment transport and morphological conditions within the proposed reach. An assessment can then be made to understand how a proposed scheme could impact the morphological and ecological status of a river.  This includes potential changes to sediment transport processes within the vicinity of the existing weir structures, where the schemes are typically proposed.

Details of the proposed scheme including the type of turbine and any proposed changes to the existing weir crest geometry are also critical in the geomorphological assessment.

Want to know more?

Email Matt Hemsworth for more information on geomorphological impact assessments. You can also find out more on our environmental services web pages.

Find out more about our other Water Framework Directive projects in our Knowledge Hub.

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