Hydrological management of a heavily dammed river basin: the Mi–o-Sil
We herein research the potential environmental impacts of the management of dams in the Mi–o-Sil river basin on the natural flow of their rivers. The Mi–o-Sil is a transnational river basin in the north-western Iberian Peninsula, and is managed by Spanish authorities. The basin is heavily managed with more than 100 dams, which in the main are used exclusively for hydropower generation. For the period of this study (1978-2012), we analyze the repercussions of the liberalization of the Spanish energy market in 1998. Our results show that the dams in the Mi–o-Sil river basin years had no influence on the natural river flows over the period of interest. Moreover, despite being used so heavily for hydropower, the liberalization of the Spanish energy market did not increase the degree of intervention in river flows. Indeed for three reservoirs in particular the correlation between inflow and outflow improved. It is also clear that for the reservoirs considered, the mean water storage and monthly inflows were lower during 1998-2012 than during 1978-1997.
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