National Handbook of Recommended Methods for Water Data Acquisition

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11.K.1. Description

Water used for hydroelectric-power generation consists of the water used in the generation of electricity at power plants where turbine generators are driven by falling water or water pressure (fig. 12). Generally, the hydroelectric dam is built in the stream and water is not diverted offstream and is considered an instream use. However, in some instances water may be diverted from the stream, stored offstream, fall through the turbines, and returned to the stream. In addition, pump storage units in the stream channel can considerably alter the timing and rate of flow in the stream. This is more characteristic of an offstream use, so hydroelectric power generation can be considered as either an instream or offstream use. Accurate estimates of water use can be obtained where water is passed through the power plants only one time. Where hydroelectric power plants have pumped-storage facilities and recycle the same water a number of times, it is more difficult to determine net water use. The SIC code for this category is 4911, which is the same SIC used for the other power-generation categories.


Figure 12. Diagram of hydroelectric power generation water use.

11.K.2. Sources of hydroelectric power generation water-use information

Estimates of hydroelectric-power water use and hydroelectric-power generation generally can be obtained from utility companies, U.S. Corps of Engineers, or other Federal agencies that operate the hydroelectric plants. A relation between water use and power generation should be available from the utility company for each generating plant. In addition, records of hydroelectric-power generation can be obtained from the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA).

11.K.3. Measurement, estimation, and data-collection methods for hydroelectric power generation water use

A general overview of the operations of hydroelectric power plants is provided by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (1983). Information on the use of water in generating hydroelectric power normally can e obtained from each individual utility, State water permitting agencies, or from the U.S. Department of Energy.

11.K.4. Hydroelectric power generation selected references

These references are supplemental to the ones in the General reference Section.

Fardo, S.W., Patrick, D.R., 1985, Electrical power systems technology: Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall, 256 p.

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, 1983, Hydropower, water at work: Denver, Colo., 32 p.

U.S. Department of Energy, 1989, Electric power annual, 1988: Energy Information Administration.

----1990, Inventory of power plants in the United States 1989: Energy Information Administration Publication DOE/EIA-0095 (89), 393 p.

Viessman, W., Jr., and Welty, C., 1985, Water management technology and institutions: New York, Harper and Row, 618 p.

Warnick, C.C., 1984, Hydropower engineering: Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall, 326 p.

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