Evaluating the retention capacity of a new subtropical run-of-river reservoir

  • Irineu BianchiniJrEmail author
  • Ângela T. Fushita
  • Marcela B. Cunha-Santino


In man-made reservoirs, the sedimentation and assimilation of elements usually prevail as a result of a decrease in the flow regime and an increase in the hydraulic retention time. Thus, the retention capacity derives from hydraulic flushing, as well as chemical and biological reactions. The aim of this study was to assess the element retention capacity of a new subtropical reservoir (Piraju Reservoir situated in São Paulo State, Brazil). Limnological monitoring was performed over four consecutive years (August 2003 to August 2007). We determined 19 variables (chemical, physical, and biological) every 3 months at the inlet (Paranapanema River) and outlet water of the Piraju Reservoir. For each variable, a mass balance was performed and the alpha parameter (i.e., retention capacity) was defined resulting in 323 determinations. From these results, only 10% led to the occurrence of element retention. Retention events were episodic; the fecal coliforms (seven times) and the N-NH4 (six times) were the variables that presented the highest number of retentions. The results show that different variables can be linked to both the retention and release of elements from the reservoirs. The results show the great significance of the physical processes (in this case, hydraulic retention time and mixing regime) in determining the element retention and exportation from the Piraju Reservoir. The water temperature was a secondary variable for the processes related to retention (such as chemical reactions and biological assimilations).


Mass balance Limnological monitoring Eutrophication Mathematical model Hydrogeochemistry 



The authors are grateful to Companhia Brasileira de Alumínio (CBA-Votorantim), currently Votorantim Energia, for providing the data of the reservoir (BQ, MOH, DA, A, V, flow, and rainfall), for subsiding the field sampling, and for the concession of limnological data.

Funding information

This study is supported by Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq grant number: 305263/2014-5).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irineu BianchiniJr
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ângela T. Fushita
    • 2
    • 3
  • Marcela B. Cunha-Santino
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento HidrobiologiaUniversidade Federal de São CarlosSão CarlosBrazil
  2. 2.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia e Recursos NaturaisUniversidade Federal de São CarlosSão CarlosBrazil
  3. 3.Centro de Engenharia, Modelagem e Ciências Sociais AplicadasUniversidade Federal do ABCSanto AndréBrazil

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