How will the water in Sau and Boadella reservoirs evolve in the future?

Researcher Saadek Takkouk has applied a water quality model to the Sau and Boadella reservoirs so as to predict its physical, chemical and biological evolution. The aim of this research work is to improve the reservoirs’ management. The results have been brought together in a doctoral thesis, conducted by Dr. Xavier Casamitjana (UdG).

In his thesis, Application of a hydrodynamic and water quality model to the Sau and Boadella reservoirs, Saadek Takkouk has applied  the DYRESM-CAEDYM water quality model to the Sau and Boadella reservoirs. Water quality models can predict the physical, chemical and biological evolution of reservoirs. After being initialized and calibrated, they can give information on, for example, how dissolved phosphorus and algae populations will evolve.

For these models to run properly, they need to be daily provided with meteorological data such as solar radiation, wind speed or rainfall, which can be obtained from meteorological stations located near the reservoirs. They also need to receive biological data which, in the research carried out by Saadez Takkouk, have been provided by various people and official bodies such as the Department of Ecology of the University of Barcelona and the Catalan Water Agency.

These models are not easy to use and the first thing that has to be done is to study its applicability. Precisely, it has to be found out whether they can be one-dimensional or if they require more than one dimension. In order to do that, the evolution of several dimensionless numbers, such as Wedderburn’s and Burger’s, is checked. This task has a major relevance in this thesis.

Sau and Boadella reservoirs in a computer

After being calibrated, the DYRESM-CAEDYM model predicts –very accurately– the evolution of temperature, and –fairly accurately– that of dissolved oxigen, especially in the Sau reservoir, where it shows anoxic areas at the bottom. The evolutionary trend of dissolved phosphorus is also clearly shown by the model.

On the other hand, simulations of chlorophyll a, which is indicative of algae, are not as accurate, since they depend on many factors, some of which are not sufficiently shown in the model.

The ultimate goal of this thesis, conducted by Dr. Xavier Casamitjana, is to help improve the reservoirs’ management by showing, for example, which is the optimal depth for water extraction.

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