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Francisco Gomide - Water Storage for Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication
Francisco Gomide - Water Storage for Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication
Francisco Gomide - Water Storage for Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication
Francisco Gomide - Water Storage for Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication
Francisco Gomide - Water Storage for Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication
Francisco Gomide - Water Storage for Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication
Francisco Gomide - Water Storage for Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication
Francisco Gomide - Water Storage for Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication
Francisco Gomide - Water Storage for Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication
Francisco Gomide - Water Storage for Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication
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Francisco Gomide - Water Storage for Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication

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Regional Leadership Forum …

Regional Leadership Forum
Advancing Sustainable Hydropower in Latin America and the Caribbean

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  • 1. GMDOrganização Industrial e Engenharia Water Storage for Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication Francisco Luiz Sibut Gomide* June, 2012*Ph.D.(Colorado State University, 1975) Professor Titular (Universidade Federal do Paraná, 1986)
  • 2. GMDOrganização Industrial e Engenharia TABLE OF CONTENTESINTRODUCTION .............................................................................. 2NATURAL LAKES AND MAN MADE RESERVOIRS .............................. 3THE IRRATIONAL OPPOSITION ........................................................ 4THE ESSENTIAL INFRASTRUCTURE .................................................. 5THE WATER (AND HYDROPOWER) CONTINENT ............................... 6THE STORAGE YIELD RELATIONSHIP ................................................ 7CLOSURE ........................................................................................ 8REFERENCES ................................................................................... 9 Francisco Luiz Sibut Gomide 1
  • 3. GMDOrganização Industrial e Engenharia INTRODUCTIONFor thousands of years, dams and reservoirs have been important tools for theadministration of extreme hydrological events. Water related disasters such as floods anddroughts have been successfully mitigated by the intelligent use of the storage providedby reservoirs.Up to the last quarter of the 20th century, those responsible for the construction of damsand creation of reservoirs – entrepreneurs, decision makers, engineers, investors –werepraised for the acknowledged benefits of their works: water supply, irrigated agriculture,flood control, improved navigation and firm hydroelectric generation (then consideredclean and unequivocally renewable energy).In the last thirty to forty years, on one (positive) side, a great consensus has been reached,concerning the need for natural systems preservation and proper environmentalprotection. However, on the other (negative) side, alarmist groups and organizations havebeen exaggeratedly stating that infrastructure works, in general, and dams and reservoirs,in particular, cause serious and intolerable environmental impacts.Since the eighties, specific organizations have succeeded in coercing multilateral creditinstitutions – such as the World Bank – to drastically reduce the technical and financialsupport for the construction of hydroelectric plants, seriously jeopardizing theircommitment to poverty reduction.One may even dare to state that this was the starting point of a process aiming at thecriminalization of reservoirs. According to some groups and organizations, hydroelectricitywould not be “clean” and could not be considered renewable, because of the reservoir. Inconsequence, reservoirs also would not be acceptable for water supply, flood control,irrigation etc. Francisco Luiz Sibut Gomide 2
  • 4. GMDOrganização Industrial e Engenharia NATURAL LAKES AND MAN MADE RESERVOIRSThe volume of fresh surface water in the earth is only 0.0075% of the total global water(Gleick, 1996): 104,620 km3, distributed in lakes (90,990 km3), swamps (11,510 km3) andrivers (2,120 km3). According to the International Committee on Large Dams – ICOLD, thetotal water storage in man-made reservoirs is around 6,620 km3 (White, 2010).The services of ecological systems such as water regulation, water supply and disturbanceregulation (say, flood control), produced by natural capital stocks (lakes, swamps andrivers), are duly appreciated (Costanza et al, 1997). The idea behind man-made reservoirsis to offer these very same services, plus hydroelectric power, improved navigation andexpanded recreation opportunities.Mother Nature decided (randomly, of course) that USA deserved some 19,000 km3 of freshwater stored in natural lakes. That seems to be fine. But when the American humaningenuity provides around 800 km3 (or maybe 1,000 km3) (NOOA, 2012) of additionalfreshwater storage in man-made reservoirs, then, according to some organizations, anecologic mistake has been perpetrated. And because these extremist organizations believethat all errors – even the imaginary ones – must be punished, they decided: “no moredams”.There are more than 75,000 dams in USA, with age over 50 years, on the average. Even so,there is no evidence supporting the assertion that building them was a mistake. Thebenefits of their reservoir operation largely offset eventual environmental impacts. Francisco Luiz Sibut Gomide 3
  • 5. GMDOrganização Industrial e Engenharia THE IRRATIONAL OPPOSITIONThe motivation for the irrational opposition to dams and reservoirs remains an unsolvedmystery. How can anyone justify the opposition to the service of water regulation? Andthe opposition to the service of water supply? How can anyone waive the protectionprovided by reservoirs in flood routing? How can anyone criticize man-made reservoirswithout regretting the existence of natural lakes? How can anyone favor the replacementof renewable energy (such as hydroelectricity) by thermal electricity (from fossil fuelcombustion)? How can anyone pretend there are more risks in hydroelectric projects thanin thermonuclear electric plants?Apparently, the opposition to dams and reservoirs is the consequence of two acts ofdenial. The first one is to deny that, following the change in ecological balance caused byman-made works, remedial measures are available to facilitate the adjustment ofbiological species to a new, often better ecological environment. The other denial is therefusal to acknowledge that in many cases, one must contemplate the relocation ofpopulation installed in inappropriate places, from the standpoint of the highest publicinterest. And that it can be done in such a way to improve the well-being of the relocatedpopulations in a wide variety of aspects.Environmental protection is a moral obligation of mankind. This song is very good. Butnot all singers are good. The irrational opposition to dams and reservoirs facilitates theadoption of the environmental flag by insincere people, groups and organizations, to beused as a mere public relations instrument.To be rational, the debate would have to be conducted in the context of comparison ofalternatives and trade-off analyses. Particularly in Brazil, the mistaken application of theprinciple of precaution has transformed most dam construction initiatives in timeconsuming, long legal battles. In the meantime, the increasing demand for electricity hasbeen supplied by fossil fuel fired thermal plants, with more pernicious environmentalimpact! Francisco Luiz Sibut Gomide 4
  • 6. GMDOrganização Industrial e Engenharia THE ESSENTIAL INFRASTRUCTUREUnfortunately, the mistaken opposition to dams and reservoirs was so efficient in forcing,coercing and influencing people and organizations that aid agencies and othermultilateral institutions discreetly steered away from investments in infrastructure.However, investment in infrastructure is indispensable for sustainable development andpoverty eradication. Sustainable development implies in the optimum conversion of theresources of nature to benefit mankind, including the future generations. Povertyeradication requires concrete actions such as infrastructure works to assure universalaccess to water and electricity.According to Yevjevich (1999), one may safely state that a civilization is as good as itsinfrastructures. Rich countries are living off the convenient services provided byinfrastructure developed in the 20th century, which is aging. At the same time, pointing topoor countries, this rich countries agenda advocates a path to development that no onehas taken before (Briscoe, 2011).It looks like the story of the Directors of a club – the riches’ club – writing down rules forthe selection of new members, setting up conditions not fulfilled – today or ever – by theexisting members. Furthermore, rules such that, once fulfilled, would make it impossible tobecome a member of this club!The end result of the irrational opposition to dams, reservoirs and other infrastructureworks is that the 20th century was closed with 850 million people without adequate accessto water, 1.6 billion people without access to electricity and 2.9 billion people living on lessthan 2 dollars a day. Francisco Luiz Sibut Gomide 5
  • 7. GMDOrganização Industrial e Engenharia THE WATER (AND HYDROPOWER) CONTINENTThe globally averaged annual precipitation over land is less than 800 millimeters(Shiklomanov and Sokolov, 1983). It does not change much from one continent to theother (Europe, 790mm; Asia, 740 mm; Africa, 740 mm; North America, 756 mm; Australiaand Oceania, 791 mm). The exception is South America, where it is twice as large: 1600mm. In Brazil, it is even larger: 1800 mm. In the Brazilian Amazon, annual rainfall is morethan 2200 mm. For the Amazon as a whole, rainfall is over 2400 mm, more than the tripleof those average 800 mm!More than 25% of the total water flux in the planet occurs in South America: the meanannual global run off is 47,000 km3 and the South America’s is 12,200 km3. The Brazilianmean annual run off (5,667 km3) triples the American one (1,787 km3), and the countries(Brazil and contiguous USA) are comparable in area. Furthermore, the three largestconcentrations of hydropower potential in the planet are in South America, two of them inBrazil.The Brazilian electricity sector is - and hopefully will continue to be – basically hydraulic.Thanks to hydroelectricity the Brazilian energy mix is one of the cleanest and most carbon-free in the world. Most of the Brazilian freshwater storage in man-made reservoirs (653km3 out of 724 km3) has been provided by electricity generation companies.Assuming that the total freshwater storage in American man-made reservoirs is 810 km3,one may state that this is equivalent to 165 days of long term mean run off[810/(1787/365)≈ 165]. Comparatively, the Brazilian total freshwater storage in man-made reservoirs is small: 47 days [724/(5667/365)≈47]. Disregarding the electricity sector,it would drop dramatically to less than 5 days [71/(5667/365)<5].The reservoirs belonging to the Brazilian electricity sector have a total surface area of37,000 km2. For comparison purposes, it may be mentioned that 90% of the 90,990 km 3 offreshwater storage in natural lakes is concentrated in just eleven locations, with meansurface area of 44,800 km2. Eight of these lakes are in the northern hemisphere; three arein Africa and, of course, none in South America. Francisco Luiz Sibut Gomide 6
  • 8. GMDOrganização Industrial e Engenharia THE STORAGE YIELD RELATIONSHIPEstimators of long term storage requirements are proportional to the standard deviationof the net inflows to reservoirs (Gomide, 1975). In the context of climatic changes, theimportance of reservoirs is increased: floods and droughts are expected to be morefrequent, and the progressive concentration of occurrences in the tails of the probabilitydistribution inflates the standard deviation of the net inflows, indicating the need forlarger reservoirs.There is an optimal size for reservoirs: not too small, to be useful, and not too large, due tothe diminishing marginal returns. This is well illustrated by the so-called storage-yieldrelationship (SYR), a well-known hydrologic tool. For any given combination of planninghorizon (in years) and risk to be assumed, this curve (SYR) furnishes the storage requiredfor each value of “firm” (or “guaranteed”, or “assured”, or “sustained”) yield of riverdischarge.Of course, no storage is needed to assure the minimum (for this specific risk and horizon)discharge. The curve (SYR) is a monotonously increasing function. The maximum storagecorresponds to the maximum sustainable firm flow, which is the long term mean discharge(LTMD). The inclination of the tangent to this curve (SYR) is equal to the duration of thedrought (“critical” period). To illustrate the diminishing marginal returns, it can be shownthat for a SYR applicable to typical Brazilian conditions, one can “firm” more than 85% ofthe long term mean discharge, with less than 30% of the storage needed to “firm” 100% ofthe LTMD (Gomide, 2012).Not always the water intake location is adequate for the creation of a sizable reservoir.The probabilistic design does not change as one moves upstream looking for moreadequate sites; but the maximum sustainable firm flow decreases, of course. Thecomparative analysis of the duration curves (another well-known hydrologic tool) for bothriver cross sections will define, together with the storage-yield-relationship, the limits anddetails of the feasible decisions regarding firm flow.When dealing with energy regulation rather than water regulation, the flexibility isimmense: the storage has not even to be upstream! Adequate designed transmission lineswill transport energy from one point (where it is available) to other (where it is needed).Furthermore, as the system increases in size, adding new plants located in hydrologicdiverse regions, the standard deviation of the total inflow increases at a lower rate incomparison with the mean. In other words, the coefficient of variation decreases, whatimplies is higher storage efficiency (Gomide, 2012). The synergetic Brazilian electricitysector has been, for decades, an interesting demonstration of this mathematical propertyof the partial sums of random variables. Francisco Luiz Sibut Gomide 7
  • 9. GMDOrganização Industrial e Engenharia CLOSUREInfrastructure investment is central to the world’s objective of poverty eradication. Therecan be no poverty reduction without access to water and electricity. Investments insustainable multi-purpose water storage must be encouraged. Reservoirs are not onlyuseful. They are indispensable. Reservoirs do change the ecological balance, initially.However, the evidence of successful adaptation to the new – and often better –ecologicalenvironment is overwhelming.Each and every human intervention on Nature has environmental impact. Hydroelectricityis favorably compared with most other generation alternatives. Accordingly, hydro-powermust be acknowledged as an unambiguously renewable source of energy.Reservoirs take advantage of hydrologic diversity to bring in synergic gains to theoperation of complex hydroelectric systems. Reservoirs and other infrastructure works areindispensable for water regulation (low flow augmentation), water supply, wastetreatment and disposal systems and flood control.The concentration of reservoirs in the upper portion of the hydrographic basins, as aconsequence of the search for more adequate dam sites, is consistent with theprobabilistic design of the storage requirements and with the environmental protection ofthe watersheds.Sustainable development implies in the optimum conversion of the resources of nature tobenefit the today and future generations. There is no conflict between the fortunatelypredominant advanced level of global environmental awareness and the timelyconvenience of the effective development of the Brazilian extraordinary water resources. Francisco Luiz Sibut Gomide 8
  • 10. GMDOrganização Industrial e Engenharia REFERENCESBriscoe, J. “Making reform happen in Water Policy: Reflections from a 2011 practitioner”, OECD Global Forum on Environment: Making water reform happen, OECD Conference Center, Paris, 25-26 October 2011Costanza, R., d’Arge, R., de “The value of the world’s ecosystem services and natural capital” 1997Groot, R., Farber, S., Nature, volume 387, pp 253-260, May 1997Grasso, M., Hannon, B.,Limburg, K., Naeem, S.,O’Neill, R.V., Paruelo, J.,Raskin, R.G., Sutton, P. evan den Belt, M.Gleick, P.H. “Water resources”, Encyclopedia of Climate and Weather, ed. by S. H. 1996 Schneider, vol. 2, pp 817-823, Oxford University Press, New YorkGomide, F.L.S. “Range and Deficit Analysis using Markov Chains”, Hydrology Papers, 1975 v 4, n 79, Colorado State University, Fort CollinsGomide, F.L.S. “Sobre Reservatórios e Segurança Hídrica”, to appear 2012NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 2012 http://www.nwrfc.noaa.gov/info/water_cycle/hydrology.cgiShiklomanov, I.A. e “Methodological basis of world water balance investigation and 1983Sokolov, A.A. computation”, Proc. Hamburg Workshop, IAHS Publication n 148White, W.R. “World Water: Resources, Usage and the Role of Man-Made 2010 Reservoirs”Yevjevich, V. “Quo Vadis, America?”, Highland Ranch General Publishing 1999 Francisco Luiz Sibut Gomide 9

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