2019 – Where to for Reservoirs: Global Emerging Trends and Essential Elements for Multipurpose Water Storage

Craig Scott , Alessandro Palmieri, Rebecca Knott

Australasian and global need and demand for water resilience often changes reservoir use from single purpose to multipurpose. These changes are affecting existing dam and reservoir structures and operations, as well as those planned or under construction. The International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) recognised this issue and established a working group to investigate and prepare Bulletin 171 titled Multipurpose Water Storage “Essential Elements and Emerging Trends”, which is now and available on the ICOLD website.

The Bulletin’s scope was to provide a global view on the dynamics of multipurpose water schemes (MPWS) by presenting essential elements and emerging trends for planning and managing reservoir and dam infrastructure, with source data collected from 52 global case studies including five from New Zealand and two from Australia.

Water storage design and implementation has evolved significantly in recent decades, and further
development is expected as innovative approaches emerge in search of optimal sustainable solutions. The focus of Bulletin 171 is therefore not on what should be done, but rather what is being done, how, and by whom. Essential elements represent a recommended checklist for implementing MPWS storage, while emerging trends is a snapshot of the current state-of-the-art for MPWS projects.

This paper presents a summary of Bulletin 171 and its findings, and a brief overview of the new and
complementary ICOLD Committee ‘T’ which is assessing emerging challenges and needs for dams in the 21st century.

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