Saturday, October 6, 2012

Stream flow

Stream flow varies greatly from season to season and depending on the nature of the terrain. A typical discharge from a 22 square mile hilly to mountainous drainage area in the Northeast during a year of normal precipitation is summarized as:

The smallest commercially manufactured hydroelectric power plant at one-half kilowatt (KW) or 500 watts needs 1.1 cfs with a 12’ height of water fall or head. Therefore no power can be generated during low-flow periods without reservoir storage. It is also interesting to look at the peak flow. A ten-kilowatt hydroelectric plant needs 16.3 cfs with a 12´ head, leaving a substantial part of the peak flow to be contended with—not a simple task. This extreme variation illustrates the value of a reservoir to regulate and even the flow.

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