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High-density Reservoir Networks in Semiarid Northeastern Brazil

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The global trend of water demand has contributed to a massive increase in the number of surface reservoirs in dryland areas since the last century. These reservoirs face severe water quantity and quality problems due to recurrent droughts, increased siltation and pollution. Such problems are already taking place, for example, in the highly populated Brazilian semiarid region, where thousands of on-river reservoirs have been constructed in order to store water in the rainy periods to compensate the deficits during the dry season, and minimize conflicts among water uses and users. This policy produced a High-density Reservoir Network (HdRN) in the region, a complex system to be managed. Since water uses and water conflicts are expected to increase globally, the problem of a HdRN may also occur in current non-drylands in the next decades. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to understand the dynamics of HdRN basins. This knowledge will help taking proper measures against water scarcity. Our research group at the Federal University of CearĂ¡ (UFC) has focused on the monitoring and modeling of High-density Reservoir Networks in the Northeastern Brazil. Assessments of reservoir hydrology and siltation have been performed and measures have been proposed to increase water availability in these systems. The main results of the above-mentioned studies have been published in relevant journals such as the Hydrological Sciences Journal, Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, Journal of Hydrology, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Additionally, on-going field surveys, laboratory studies and mathematical modeling have also been conducted to investigate reservoir water quality and remediation techniques such as artificial aeration/destratification and bioremediation. Our partners include State Water Companies and institutions such as the University of Potsdam, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and University of Cambridge.

This talk is part of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Flows (IEEF) series.

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