University of Oulu

A modelling approach for evaluating impacts of hydropeaking in a sub-arctic river

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Author: Virk, Zeeshan1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Technology, Environmental Engineering
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 4 MB)
Pages: 115
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : Z. Virk, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-10-12
Thesis type: Master's thesis (tech)
Tutor: Marttila, Hannu
Torabi Haghighi, Ali
Reviewer: Marttila, Hannu
Torabi Haghighi, Ali


The release of pulses of water to increase hydroelectric power production at hydropower dams to meet daily peaks in electricity demands is called hydropeaking. Due to energy supply and demand fluctuations, the energy markets direct hydropower companies to balance load fluctuations through variations in power generation which result in flow regulation. More recently, this regulation is being carried out at shorter time intervals i.e., intra-daily and intra-hourly levels. The hydropeaking phenomenon increases drastically at shorter time intervals, severely impacting the riverine and riparian ecosystem. Social, economic, and ecological impacts arise from short-term hydropeaking. Furthermore, recreational services offered by the river are also impacted. This research develops a novel methodology for assessing these impacts in a strongly regulated sub-arctic river in Finland, i.e., Kemijoki River, Ossauskoski-Tervola reach. The methodology combines assessment of seasonal variations in sub-daily hydropeaking, two-dimensional hydrodynamic modelling, and a high-resolution land cover map developed through supervised land use classification via a machine learning algorithm. The results obtained include; the identification of a zone of influence of hydropeaking at sub-daily levels during each season, the total and class-wise area affected during each peaking event, and vulnerability zonation for water-based recreation in the river reach. The overall area of reach affected by peaking in Winter was (1.05 km2), Spring (0.96 km2), Summer (1.39 km2), and Autumn (0.66 km2). A vulnerability mapping was also carried out for the suitability of water-based recreation in the study reach. The novel methodology developed in this research which defines the vulnerable zone of hydropeaking can be used as the first step in detailed impacts assessment studies such as those for impacts on fish habitat and sediment transport processes in the river. The hydropeaking-influenced zone can be used to set thresholds for ecological flows and ramping rates downstream of power stations and opens avenues for future research, development, and policy endeavors for riparian ecosystem impact assessment and mitigation.

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Copyright information: © Zeeshan Virk, 2022. Except otherwise noted, the reuse of this document is authorised under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY 4.0) licence ( This means that reuse is allowed provided appropriate credit is given and any changes are indicated. For any use or reproduction of elements that are not owned by the author(s), permission may need to be directly from the respective right holders.