Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

David E. Rosenberg


David E. Rosenberg


Bethany T. Neilson


Theodore Kennedy


Hydropower generated from dams has significant economic value, however, that value is achieved at the cost of native ecosystem devastation. Here, we have estimated loss in hydropower revenue due to inclusion of the steady low flow days –Bug Flow Experiments. We developed a linear optimization model and constraint method that restrict the number of steady low flow days while maximizes the hydropower revenue generation. The results suggested that increase in release volume will benefit both the objectives (win-win scenario), energy price differential between on-and off-peak periods controls the position and shape of tradeoff curves, and offset release does not have impact on the tradeoffs. Monthly results of the model helped us devise a program where hydropower producers are compensated for the steady low flow days. The program allocates funds and provides opportunities for ecosystem managers to pay hydropower producers revenue loss from the steady low flow days (escape from the win-lose scenario). In other words, the ecosystem managers are empowered to make decision about when and how many steady low flows days to buy against compensating the hydropower producers. This study is an initial effort and next steps would include a) improve results by adding information from the GTMax SL model used by the Western Area Power Authority and b) engagement with more organizations: National Park Service, Bureau of Reclamation, and Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management program.