Reservoir location

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  • Reservoir location
    • Topography
      • Main cost of developing = dam construction, whilst income is the amount of water held + supply.
      • Narrow exit + large basin = ideal topography
    • Geology
      • rock beneath reservoir must be impermeableso water cannot percolate into rock and be lost.
      • rock should be strong to support weight of dam/reservoir without faults or seismic activity that could trigger earthquake and cause dam to collapse.
    • Catchment area
      • area of land over which falling rain will flow into river from
      • the site and surrounding area collecting water
      • if area is good even if has not rained recently then water from previous rainfall will still enter reservoir
    • Water supply
      • Ideally, rainfall or river inflow should be regular with large volume.
      • climate should not be too hot/dry which would cause excessive evaporation losses.
    • Existing land use
      • if land is important then should not be used because land is to be flooded
      • analysis of balance of losses and benefits must be considered
      • in UK large urban areas/areas of wildlife conservation would be protected, while agricultural land less valued
      • Other countries may assess their priorites differently
    • Pollution risk
      • land uses in catchment area should not pose serious pollution risks to water.
      • main threats = toxic pollutants from industry + agricultural pesticides.
      • If area covered with forest lots of dead organic matter wash in and may decay anaerobically, releasing methane adding to global climate change
    • Sedimentation
      • soil erosion in catchment area can make inflow river very turbid = sedimentation in reservoir
      • Gradually reduces volume of water that the reservoir can hold
    • Infrastructure
      • Building the dam, treating the water and transported it to the area of demand requires workers, buliding materials, access routes and machinery
      • Convenient site near area of deman may be choosen rather than a site that would supply more water but isolated + difficult to reach


Sam Barnwell



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