Author(s): Jian Li; Ziqiang Xia; Wei Yin; Haiyan Jia
Keywords: No keywords
Abstract: Instream ecological flow (IEF) and flow-related variations were important for healthy river systems. However, water conservancy projects such as reservoirs altered the processes of IEF and thereby posed considerable threat to the health of river systems and aquatic lives. To that end, in this study the effects of reservoir construction on IEF in the upper reaches of the Irtysh River were analyzed using an improved hydrological method. The computed results were in turn used to determine the maximum (MaxIEF), minimum (MinIEF) and optimal (OptIEF) instream ecological flows of the river. Based on the study, reservoir impoundments limited IEF in wet seasons but enhanced it in dry seasons. It also narrowed suitable flow range for reproduction and growth of aquatic life. Reservoirs could be used to regulate Irtysh River discharge. For healthy instream processes in wet years, OptIEF could be set as the lower limit and MaxIEF as the upper limit. For much the same reasons, MinIEF could be set as the lower limit in dry years and OptIEF as a suitable target in normal years.