The advent of smart metering is set to revolutionize many aspects of the relationship between water utilities and their customers, and this includes the possibility of using time-varying water prices as a demand management strategy. These dynamic tariffs could promote water use efficiency by reflecting the variations of water demand, availability, and delivery costs over time. This paper relates the potential benefits of dynamic water tariffs, at the utility and basin scale, to their design across a range of timescales. On one end of the spectrum, subdaily peak pricing shifts use away from peak hours to lower a utility’s operational and capital expenses. On the other end, scarcity pricing factors in the variations of the marginal opportunity cost of water at weekly or longer timescales in the river basin from which water is withdrawn. Dynamic pricing schemes that act across timescales can be devised to yield both types of benefits. The analysis estimates these benefits separately for Greater London (United Kingdom) and its 15 million inhabitants. More HERE
NRMGroup is participating in a summer school on Water Systems Analysis (WSA) at the University of Chile. The school will introduce fundamentals of WSA from hydroeconomics and financial risk management, to water systems control and multiobjective optimizations. For the NRMGroup, Andrea Castelletti will give a lecture on Direct Policy Search approaches to water systems operation design. Full program HERE
Dams in the Mekong Basin are mostly planned project-by-project and without strategic analysis of their cumulative impacts on river processes such as sediment connectivity. We analyse missed and future opportunities for reducing hydropower impacts on sediment connectivity through strategic planning of dams in the Se Kong, Se San and Sre Pok (‘3S’) tributaries of the lower Mekong, which are critically important as a source of sand for the Mekong Delta. With strategic planning, 68% of the hydropower potential of the 3S Basin could have been developed while trapping 21% of the basin’s sand load. The current dam portfolio resulting from project-by-project planning uses 54% of the hydropower potential while trapping 91% of the sand load. Results from the 3S demonstrate that strategic network-scale planning is crucial for developing lower-impact hydropower, a relevant finding given the at least 3,700 major dams that are proposed worldwide. More HERE
We have recently visited the Vjosa river in Albania in a research mission together with colleagues from the University of Trento and University of Tirana. This is an astonishing braided river amongst the few left in Europe. Future hydropower developments are planned in this basin as in most of the Balkans. These projects although necessary to improve the national production of electricity are a serious threat to the integrity of some of the most valuable ecosystems in Europe. Our research aims to develop modeling tools and decision frameworks to support sustainable hydropower development in such a valuable and critical ecosystem.