The Flushing Flow Cost: A Prohibitive River Restoration Alternative? The Case of the Lower Ebro River
Carlos M. Gómez, C. Dionisio Pérez-Blanco, Ramon J. Batalla
River Restoration, Flushing Flows, Opportunity Costs, Hydropower, Ebro River
Climate Change and Sustainable Development
Although the effectiveness of flushing floods in restoring basic environmental functions in highly engineered rivers has been extensively tested, the opportunity cost is still considered to represent an important limitation to putting these actions into practice. In this paper, we present a two-stage method for the assessment of the opportunity cost of the periodical release of flushing flows in the lower reaches of rivers with regimes that are basically controlled by series of dams equipped with hydropower generation facilities. The methodology is applied to the Lower Ebro River in Spain. The results show that the cost of the reduced power generation resulting from the implementation of flushing floods is lower than the observed willingness to pay for river restoration programmes.
Suggested citation: Carlos M. Gómez, C. Dionisio Pérez-Blanco, Ramon J. Batalla, Tradeoffs in river restoration: Flushing flows vs. hydropower generation in the Lower Ebro River, Spain, Journal of Hydrology, Volume 518, Part A, 10 October 2014, Pages 130-139, ISSN 0022-1694, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2013.08.029.