Comparative assessment of environmental flow using hydrological methods of low flow indexes, Smakhtin, Tennant and flow duration curve

Abstract

There are different methods in hydrological approach for estimating the environmental flow and a comparative assessment is necessary. The low flow indexes (7Q2 and 7Q10), Smakhtin, Tennent and flow duration curve were used to estimate the environmental flow of Zohreh River in the southwest of Iran. The Smakhtin, 7Q2, 7Q10 and Tennant methods resulted in the estimation of constant values of 27.2, 12.7, 5.9 and (8 and 24) cms, so that, on average 52.8, 26.9 and 12.3, 36.7 percent of the monthly flow is allocated to the environmental flow. The monthly environmental flow pattern for these methods does not fit well with the monthly flow pattern, and thus it can be concluded that the Smakhtin, 7Q2, 7Q10 and Tennant methods cannot be used in the initial form. The application of the flow duration curve leads to an environmental flow assessment in the range of 6.8–38 cms in different months, whose time pattern completely matched with the monthly flow pattern. In this method, on average, 30.8% (range 18–48%) of the monthly flow allocated to the environmental flow, which is reasonable and acceptable amounts. Investigating the results of this study shows that the time pattern of the results should be analyzed in comparison with the observational flow pattern to estimate the environmental flow with a hydrological approach. The results also suggest that the methods that provide a constant amount of environmental flow in different months of the year should be interpreted cautiously along with other methods.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

References

  1. Acreman M, Dunbar M, Hannaford J, Mountford O, Wood P, Holmes N, King J (2008) Developing environmental standards for abstractions from UK rivers to implement the EU Water Framework Directive/Développement de standards environnementaux sur les prélèvements d’eau en rivière au Royaume Uni pour la mise en œuvre de la directive cadre sur l’eau de l’Union Européenne. Hydrol Sci J 53(6):1105–1120

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Ansarifar MM, Salarijazi M, Ghorbani K, Kaboli AR (2019) Simulation of groundwater level in a coastal aquifer. Marine Georesource Geotechnol 38(3):257–265

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Ates H, Dogan S, Berktay A (2016) The effect of river type hydroelectric power plants on aquatic ecosystems: the case study of Göksu River-Eastern Mediterranean. Eur J Eng Nat Sci 1(1):39

    Google Scholar 

  4. Bahrami E, Mohammadrezapour O, Salarijazi M, Jou PH (2019) Effect of base flow and rainfall excess separation on runoff hydrograph estimation using gamma model (case study: Jong catchment). KSCE J Civ Eng 23(3):1420–1426

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Balsane VK, Bansod RD (2016) Evaluation of hydrological criteria of environmental flow. Int J Trop Agric 34(6):1821–1827

    Google Scholar 

  6. Bardina M, Honey-Rosés J, Munné A (2016) Implementation strategies and a cost/benefit comparison for compliance with an environmental flow regime in a Mediterranean river affected by hydropower. Water Policy 18(1):197–216

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Brooks BW, Riley TM, Taylor RD (2006) Water quality of effluent-dominated ecosystems: ecotoxicological, hydrological, and management considerations. Hydrobiologia 556(1):365–379

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Caissie J, Caissie D, El-Jabi N (2015) Hydrologically based environmental flow methods applied to rivers in the Maritime Provinces (Canada). River Res Appl 31(6):651–662

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Chen W, Olden JD (2017) Designing flows to resolve human and environmental water needs in a dam-regulated river. Nat Commun 8(1):2158

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Davies PM, Naiman RJ, Warfe DM, Pettit NE, Arthington AH, Bunn SE (2014) Flow–ecology relationships: closing the loop on effective environmental flows. Mar Freshw Res 65(2):133–141

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Elhatip H, Hinis MA (2015) Statistical approaches for estimating the environmental flows in a river basin: case study from the Euphrates River catchment, Eastern Anatolian part of Turkey. Environ Earth Sci 73(8):4633–4646

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Ghanbarpour MR, Zolfaghari S, Geiss C, Darvari Z (2013) Investigation of river flow alterations using environmental flow assessment and hydrologic indices: Tajan River Watershed Iran. Int J River Basin Manag 11(3):311–321

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Ghorbani K, Salarijazi M, Abdolhosseini M, Eslamian S, Ahmadianfar I (2019) Evaluation of Clark IUH in rainfall-runoff modelling (case study: Amameh Basin). Int J Hydrol Sci Technol 9(2):137–153

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Jensen P, Lee KL, Su YC, Glick R, Magin D (2002) Wet weather and the application of appropriate criteria for contact recreation. Proc Water Environ Fed 2002(8):1210–1222

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Jha R, Sharma KD, Singh VP (2008) Critical appraisal of methods for the assessment of environmental flows and their application in two river systems of India. KSCE J Civ Eng 12(3):213–219

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. King JM, Tharme RE, Brown CA (1999) Definition and implementation of instream flows Thematic Report for the World Commission on Dams. Southern Waters Ecological Research and Consulting, Cape Town, SA, p 63

    Google Scholar 

  17. Mann, J. L. (2006). Instream flow methodologies: an evaluation of the Tennant method for higher gradient streams in the national forest system lands in the western US Master of Science thesis. Colorado State University, Fort Collins

  18. McClain ME, Anderson EP (2015) The gap between best practice and actual practice in the allocation of environmental flows in integrated water resources management. In: Setegn S, Donoso M (eds) Sustainability of integrated water resources management. Springer, Cham, pp 103–120. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-12194-9_7

    Google Scholar 

  19. Moazed H, Salarijazi M, Moradzadeh M, Soleymani S (2012) Changes in rainfall characteristics in Southwestern Iran. Afr J Agric Res 7(18):2835–2843

    Google Scholar 

  20. Noori M, Zarghami M, Sharifi MB, Heydari M (2013) Utilization of LARS-WG model for modelling of meteorological parameters in Golestan Province of Iran. J River Eng 1. https://europub.co.uk/articles/32947

  21. Othman F, Heydari M, Sadeghian MS, Rashidi M, Shahiri Parsa M (2014) The necessity of systematic and integrated approach in water resources problems and evaluation methods, a review. Adv Environ Biol 8(19):307–315

    Google Scholar 

  22. Pastor AV, Ludwig F, Biemans H, Hoff H, Kabat P (2014) Accounting for environmental flow requirements in global water assessments. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 18(12):5041–5059

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Piniewski M, Laizé CL, Acreman MC, Okruszko T, Schneider C (2014) Effect of climate change on environmental flow indicators in the Narew Basin. Poland J Environ Qual 43(1):155–167

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Poff NL (2018) Beyond the natural flow regime? Broadening the hydro-ecological foundation to meet environmental flows challenges in a non-stationary world. Freshw Biol 63(8):1011–1021. https://doi.org/10.1111/fwb.13038

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Poff LeRoy N, David Allan J, Mark Bain B, Karr JR, Prestegaard KL, Richter BD, Sparks RE, Stromberg JC (1997) The natural flow regime. BioScience 47(11):769–784

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Pyrce, R. (2004). Hydrological low flow indices and their uses. Watershed Science Centre,(WSC)Report, (04–2004).

  27. Richter BD, Baumgartner JV, Powell J, Braun DP (1996) A method for assessing hydrological alteration within ecosystems. Conserv Biol 10:1163–1174

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Richter BD, Davis MM, Apse C, Konrad C (2012) A presumptive standard for environmental flow protection. River Res Appl 28(8):1312–1321

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Rijal NH, Alfredsen K (2015) Environmental flows in Nepal-an evaluation of current practices and an analysis of the upper Trishuli-I hydroelectric project. Hydro Nepal: J Water Energy Environ 17:8–17

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Salarijazi M, Ghorbani K (2019) Improvement of the simple regression model for river’ EC estimation. Arab J Geosci 12(7):235

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Shenton W, Hart BT, Chan T (2011) Bayesian network models for environmental flow decision-making: 1. Latrobe River Australia. River Res Appl 27(3):283–296

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Smakhtin VU (2001) Low flow hydrology: a review. J Hydrol 240(3):147–186

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Smakhtin VY (2006) An assessment of environmental flow requirements of Indian river basins, vol 107. IWMI. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02508060408691785

  34. Smakhtin V, Revenga C, Doll P (2004) A pilot global assessment of environmental water requirements and scarcity. Water Int 29(3):307–317

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Tennant DL (1976) Instream flow regimens for fish, wildlife, recreation and related environmental resources. Fisheries 1:6–10

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Tharme RE (2003) A global perspective on environmental flow assessment: emerging trends in the development and application of environmental flow methodologies for rivers. River Res Appl 19(5–6):397–441

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Trudel M, Doucet-Généreux PL, Leconte R (2017) Assessing river low-flow uncertainties related to hydrological model calibration and structure under climate change conditions. Climate 5(1):19

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Verma RK, Murthy S, Tiwary RK (2015) Assessment of environmental flows for various sub-watersheds of Damodar river basin using different hydrological methods. J Waste Resour 5(182):2

    Google Scholar 

  39. Verma RK, Murthy S, Verma S, Mishra SK (2017) Design flow duration curves for environmental flows estimation in Damodar River Basin. India Appl Water Sci 7(3):1283–1293

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Wałęga A, Młyński D, Kokoszka R, Miernik W (2015) Possibilities of applying hydrological methods for determining environmental flows in select catchments of the upper Dunajec basin. Methodology (BBM) 29:32

    Google Scholar 

  41. Watt SP (2007) A methodology for environmental protection of ontario watercourses with respect to the permit to take water program, Master Thesis. Queen’s University, Canada, p 124

    Google Scholar 

  42. Wurbs RA (2017) Incorporation of environmental flows in water allocation in Texas. Water Int 42(1):18–33

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Zhang Z (2017) The index gage method to develop a flow duration curve from short-term streamflow records. J Hydrol 553:119–129

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Zhuo L, Mekonnen MM, Hoekstra AY, Wada Y (2016) Inter-and intra-annual variation of water footprint of crops and blue water scarcity in the Yellow River basin (1961–2009). Adv Water Resour 87:29–41

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Meysam Salarijazi.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Communicated by Michael Nones, Ph.D. (CO-EDITOR-IN-CHIEF)/Mohammad Valipour (ASSOCIATE EDITOR).

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Karimi, S., Salarijazi, M., Ghorbani, K. et al. Comparative assessment of environmental flow using hydrological methods of low flow indexes, Smakhtin, Tennant and flow duration curve. Acta Geophys. (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11600-021-00539-z

Download citation

Keywords

  • Zohreh river
  • Hydrological methods
  • Environmental flows
  • Flow duration curves
  • Low flow indexes
  • Tennant
  • Smakhtin