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how do I account for effects of dams in flow results in the seasonal water yield model?

Dear all,

We're running the seasonal water yield model and we became aware that the watershed we are studying has dams. How do I account for that effect in the stream flow to get a better model result? Is it even necessary?

Many thanks,


  • PerrinePerrine Moderator, NatCap Staff
    Hi Vanesa, 

    Dams influence the water supply service since they make the watershed "storage" service less useful.
    So the answer depends on your application. If you want to assess the "pre-development" value of the watershed, i.e. the water yield in the absence of grey infrastructure, you can ignore dams. If you want to assess the watershed with the current infrastructure, you may want to look at the annual water yield (apart from the overflow, most of the water produced upstream of the dam will contribute to water supply).

    Finally, remember that the seasonal water yield model is not a traditional rainfall-runoff model (even if it does rely on monthly water balance equations). It was developed to understand the spatial distribution of baseflow sources in a watershed, and it may be difficult to use it for quantitative purposes, if this was your intent.



  • Hi Perrine,

    Many thanks for your answer! We want to look at the current infrastructure, but we're playing with the parameters to try to match the known flow data that we have, and I guess what I wanted to know was if the dams were something we should take into account when doing so.
    Thanks a lot!

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