River Environmental Flow Assessment Using Tennant, Tessman, FDC Shifting and DRM Hydrological Methods

Document Type : Research Article


- M.Sc. in Civil Engineering, Lamei Gorgani Institute of Higher Education.


Different approaches have been presented for estimating river environmental flow which hydrological approach has a lot addressed because of its need to access to limited data and moderately rapid assessment. This approach incorporates various methods therefore comparison between results of different methods is essential. The objective of this study is to investigate and compare the consequences of Tennant, flow duration curve shifting (FDC shifting), desktop reserve model and Tessman methods for environmental flow assessment of Zohreh river (Dehmolla hydrometry station) located in southwestern Iran. According to the long-term flow data the annual mean flow is 80.18 cms and August-October and February-April with 22.5 and 156.2 cms are low and high flow periods of the year. Investigation of consequences of different methods demonstrate FDC shifting is most admissible method for environmental flow assessment in this study because of its reasonable exhibited environmental flows in different months in comparison with monthly and annual mean flow, good compatibility of within-year patterns of monthly environmental and river flow, and lack of allocation of all river flow to environmental flow in all months of the year. Considering the results of the FDC shifting method the monthly environmental flow are estimated between 6.8 to 53.2 cms and its mean annual is 27.79 cms. The mean environmental flow for low and high flow periods are 7.7 and 49.3 cms respectively too.


Main Subjects

[1]. Baumgartner LJ, Conallin J, Wooden I, Campbell B, Gee R, Robinson WA, Mallen‐Cooper M. Using flow guilds of freshwater fish in an adaptive management framework to simplify environmental flow delivery for semi‐arid riverine systems. Fish and Fisheries. 2014 Sep 1;15(3):410-27.
[2]. MacDonald GK, D’Odorico P, Seekell DA. Pathways to sustainable intensification through crop water management. Environmental Research Letters. 2016 Aug 30;11(9):091001.
[3]. Bond N, Costelloe J, King A, Warfe D, Reich P, Balcombe S. Ecological risks and opportunities from engineered artificial flooding as a means of achieving environmental flow objectives. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 2014 Sep 1;12(7):386-94.
[4]. Yang HC, Suen JP, Chou SK. Estimating the Ungauged Natural Flow Regimes for Environmental Flow Management. Water Resources Management. 2016 Oct 1;30(13):4571-84.
[5]. Grantham TE, Viers JH, Moyle PB. Systematic screening of dams for environmental flow assessment and implementation. BioScience. 2014 Nov 1;64(11):1006-18.
[6]. Lu XX, Li S, Kummu M, Padawangi R, Wang JJ. Observed changes in the water flow at Chiang Saen in the lower Mekong: Impacts of Chinese dams?. Quaternary International. 2014 Jun 26;336:145-57.
[7]. Mackay SJ, Arthington AH, James CS. Classification and comparison of natural and altered flow regimes to support an Australian trial of the ecological limits of hydrologic alteration framework. Ecohydrology. 2014 Dec 1;7(6):1485-507.
[8]. Bergkamp G, McCartney M, Dugan P, McNeely J, Acreman M. Dams, ecosystem functions and environmental restoration. Thematic Review II. 2000 Nov;1.
[9]. Poff NL, Allan JD, Bain MB, Karr JR, Prestegaard KL, Richter BD et al. The natural flow regime: A paradigm for river conservation and restoration. BioScience. 1997 Dec;47(11):769-784.
[10]. Simonovic SP. World water dynamics: global modeling of water resources. Journal of Environmental Management. 2002 Nov 30;66(3):249-67.
[11]. Tharme RE. A global perspective on environmental flow assessment: emerging trends in the development and application of environmental flow methodologies for rivers. River research and applications. 2003 Sep 1;19(5‐6):397-441.
[12]. Petts GE. Water allocation to protect river ecosystems. Regulated rivers: research & management. 1996 Jul 1;12(4‐5):353-65.
[13]. Zare Bidaki R, Mahdianfard M, Honarbakhs A, Zeinivand, H. Base Flow Estimation in Tireh Dorood River in order to EnvironmentalFlow Assessmen. Ecohydrology. 2015; 2(3): 275-287. [Persian]
[14]. Shokouhi A, Hong Y. Determining the Minimum Ecological Water Requirements in Perennial Rives Using Morphological Parameters. Journal of Environmental Studies. 2011(58): 117-128 (Persian)
[15]. Hughes DA, Smakhtin V. Daily flow time series patching or extension: a spatial interpolation approach based on flow duration curves. Hydrological Sciences Journal. 1996 Dec 1;41(6):851-71.
[16]. Wolaver BD. Potential Economic Impacts of Instream Flows for Central Texas Freshwater Mussels. In2013 NGWA Summit—The National and International Conference on Groundwater 2013 May 1. Ngwa.. 70pp.
[17]. Ahn JM, Lee S, Kang T. Evaluation of dams and weirs operating for water resource management of the Geum River. Science of the Total Environment. 2014 Apr 15;478:103-15.
[18]. Archfield SA, Steeves PA, Guthrie JD, Ries III KG. Towards a publicly available, map-based regional software tool to estimate unregulated daily streamflow at ungauged rivers. Geoscientific Model Development. 2013 Jan 28;6(1):101-15.
[19]. Joshi KD, Jha DN, Alam A, Srivastava SK, Kumar V, Sharma AP. Environmental Flow requirements of River Sone: Impacts of low discharge on fisheries. Current Science. 2014 Aug 10;107(3):478.
[20]. Smakhtin VY, Anpurhas M. An assessment of environmental flow requirements of Indian river basins. IWMI Research Report 107. International Water Management Institute, Colombo, Sri Lanka, 2006, 36pp.
[21]. Watt SP. A methodology for environmental protection of Ontario watercourses with respect to the permit to take water program. 2007.
[22]. Mazvimavi D, Madamombe E, Makurira H. Assessment of environmental flow requirements for river basin planning in Zimbabwe. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Parts A/B/C. 2007 Dec 31;32(15):995-1006.
[23]. Olsen M, Troldborg L, Henriksen HJ, Conallin J, Refsgaard JC, Boegh E. Evaluation of a typical hydrological model in relation to environmental flows. Journal of Hydrology. 2013 Dec 12;507:52-62.
[24]. Reiser DW, Wesche TA, Estes C. Status of instream flow legislation and practices in North America. Fisheries. 1989 Mar 1;14(2):22-9.
[25]. Sedighkia M, Ayyoubzadeh SA, Hajiesmaeli M. Investigation on the necessities of Instream Flow Needs assessment in the rivers using hydro-ecological methods (Case study: Delichai river in Tehran, Iran). Ecohydrology. 2015; 2(3): 289-300. [Persian]
[26]. Wilding TK, Poff NL. Flow-ecology relationships for the watershed flow evaluation tool. Colorado State University, Department of Biology, Fort Collins, CO. 2008. 50 pp.
[27]. Tessmann S. Environmental Assessment, Technical Appendix E in Environmental Use Sector Reconnaissance Elements of the western Dakotas Region of South Dakota study. Water Resources Research Institute, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD. 1980.
[28]. Linnansaari T, Monk WA, Baird DJ, Curry RA. Review of approaches and methods to assess environmental flows across Canada and internationally. DFO Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat, Research Document. 2012;39. 83pp.
[29]. Wałęga A, Młyński D, Kokoszka R, Miernik W. Possibilities of Applying Hydrological Methods for Determining Environmental Flows in Select Catchments of the Upper Dunajec Basin. methodology (BBM). 2015 Nov 1;29:32.
[30]. Hughes DA, Hannart P. A desktop model used to provide an initial estimate of the ecological instream flow requirements of rivers in South Africa. Journal of Hydrology. 2003 Jan 31;270(3):167-81.
[31]. Tennant DL. Instream flow regimens for fish, wildlife, recreation and related environmental resources. Fisheries. 1976 Jul 1;1(4):6-10.
[32]. Jayasiri MM, Dayawansa ND, Gunawardena ER. Comparison of methods to assess environmental flows: A Review. International Research Symposium on Engineering Advancements. SAITM, Malabe, Sri Lanka, 2015, 46-49.
[33]. Smakhtin VU, Eriyagama N. Developing a software package for global desktop assessment of environmental flows. Environmental Modelling & Software. 2008 Dec 31;23(12):1396-406.
Volume 4, Issue 1
March 2017
Pages 177-189
  • Receive Date: 17 December 2016
  • Revise Date: 15 January 2017
  • Accept Date: 19 January 2017
  • First Publish Date: 21 March 2017