Evaluation of Eco-hydrology-hydraulics Methods for Environmental Flows in Rivers (Case Study: Nazloo River, Urmia Lake Basin)

Document Type : Research Article


1 MSc. in Water Resources Engineering, Department, Urmia university, Urmia, Iran

2 Associate Professor of River Engineering, Water Eng. Department, Urmia university, Urmia, Iran


Development of irrigation network and overuse of water is the main cause of desiccation of the internationally recognized Urmia Lake, Iran, in the last decades. In the restoration planning of the Urmia Lake, the allocation of environmental flows for the main rivers and security of water flows along these rivers are essential. The main aim of the present study was to determine the monthly distribution of the rivers environmental flows. This paper presents the ecological requirements of a typical river, the Nazloo River in the west coast of the Urmia Lake, using eco-hydrology-hydraulics methods. An ecological integrated method (Habitat Similitudes) was used for sustaining targeting species in the river system (i.e. Siah, SiahKoli and Zardak fishes). The Water Quality method (Q- relationship) was considered for species tolerance to pollutants. The flow predictions from most of the hydrological methods are higher than the river's natural flow capacity during low-flow period (July to February). The results from the hydraulic method (Maximum Curvature) have limited flexibilities to present reasonable flows during different months of the year. The concentrations of phosphate are also found to be critical to the targeting fish species. In this study, the integration of "Habitat Similitude" and "Water Quality" methods, considering the potential of the natural flows and the hydraulic requirements of the riverine species, would offer the monthly environmental flows of the river in a more realistic way. The results indicate that in order to maintain the Nazloo River at acceptable environmental condition, water flows ranging from 0.8 m3/s (in September) to 8.0 m3/s (in April) are to be provided along the river towards the Urmia Lake, in Iran.


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