Natural streamflow regime alterations: Damming of the Piave river basin (Italy)

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2010-06-01

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Abstract

A novel approach is proposed to estimate the natural streamflow regime of a river and to assess the extent of the alterations induced by dam operation related to anthropogenic (e.g., agricultural, hydropower) water uses in engineered river basins. The method consists in the comparison between the seasonal probability density function (pdf) of observed streamflows and the purportedly natural streamflow pdf obtained by a recently proposed and validated probabilistic model. The model employs a minimum of landscape and climate parameters and unequivocally separates the effects of anthropogenic regulations from those produced by hydroclimatic fluctuations. The approach is applied to evaluate the extent of the alterations of intra-annual streamflow variability in a highly engineered alpine catchment of north-eastern Italy, the Piave river. Streamflows observed downstream of the regulation devices in the Piave catchment are found to exhibit smaller means/modes, larger coefficients of variation, and more pronounced peaks than the flows that would be observed in the absence of anthropogenic regulation, suggesting that the anthropogenic disturbance leads to remarkable reductions of river flows, with an increase of the streamflow variability and of the frequency of preferential states far from the mean. Some structural limitations of management approaches based on minimum streamflow requirements (widely used to guide water policies) as opposed to criteria based on whole distributions are also discussed. Copyright © 2010 by the American Geophysical Union.

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10.1029/2009WR008523

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Botter, G, S Basso, A Porporato, I Rodriguez-Iturbe and A Rinaldo (2010). Natural streamflow regime alterations: Damming of the Piave river basin (Italy). Water Resources Research, 46(6). p. W06522. 10.1029/2009WR008523 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/4049.

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Scholars@Duke

Porporato

Amilcare Porporato

Adjunct Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Amilcare Porporato earned a Master Degree in Civil Engineering (summa cum laude) in 1992 and his Ph.D. in 1996 from Polytechnic of Turin. He was appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Hydraulics of the Polytechnic of Turin, and he moved to Duke University in 2003, where he is now Full Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering with a secondary appointment with the Nicholas School of the Environment.

In June 1996, Porporato received the Arturo Parisatti International Price, awarded by the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere e Arti. He was Research Associate at the Texas A&M University (USA) in 1998 and Visiting Scholar at Princeton University (USA), Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, from 1999 to 2001. In 2008-2009 he was the first Landolt & Cie Visiting Chair in “Innovative Strategies for a sustainable Future” at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland. He was awarded the 2007 Professor Senol Utku’ award, the 2010 Earl Brown II Outstanding Civil Engineering Faculty Award, and in 2011 he received a Lagrange fellowship from the Polytechnic of Turin, the CRT bank and the ISI (Institute for Scientific Interchange). In 2012 he was elected an AGU fellow.

His main research interests regard nonlinear and stochastic dynamical systems, hydrometeorology and soil-atmosphere interaction, soil moisture and plant dynamics, soil biogeochemistry, and ecohydrology.

Porporato has been Editor of Water Resources Research (AGU) (2004-2009), and he is currently editor for Hydrological Processes. He is also member of the editorial board of Advances in Water Resources and the Hydrologic Science Journal. Among other things, he was chairman and convener of the Ecohydrology sessions of the AGU Spring Meeting in 2001 and 2002 and of the EGU in 2004-2006. Porporato has been part of the Italian research groups of Turbulence and Vorticity and of Climate, Soil and Vegetation Interaction, an adviser for real-time forecasting in the Piedmont Region (Italy), and ecohydrology (US National Academy).

Porporato's didactic experience comprises courses in Environmental Fluid Mechanics, Hydraulics, Hydraulic Constructions, Statistical and Physical Hydrology, Ecohydrology, Nonlinear Dynamics and Stochastic Processes. He has also been the didactic coordinator for the International School "Hydroaid: Water for Development", co-organized by the Polytechnic of Turin and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Porporato is author of more than 140 peer-reviewed papers, several publications presented at national and international conferences and invited talks. He is also co-author of the book "Ecohydrology of water controlled ecosystems" (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2004) and the edited the book "Dryland Ecohydrology" (Springer, 2005).


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