2021 – Maintaining and increasing efficiency in reservoirs – geomembranes and floating photovoltaic panels

Alberto Scuero, Gabriella Vaschetti, John Cowland

Efficiency in water supply reservoirs, even more so in pumped storage reservoirs, requires good water management and minimisation of water losses. With climate change affecting the quantity of water available for supply and power generation, minimising water losses is becoming more and more crucial, and the most efficient way to achieve this critical objective is to line the reservoir with a watertight geomembrane system. With more than 60 years of use, flexible geomembrane systems have proven to be a dependable technology for new construction as well as for rehabilitation. Efficiency can also be increased by covering the reservoir with a floating geomembrane cover to minimise evaporation losses, and by adding value to the reservoir with the installation of floating photovoltaic panel farms on the surface of the reservoir, to provide or increase electrical power generation. This paper addresses these two aspects of efficiency: water loss minimisation, by presenting concepts and advantages of geomembrane liners, and concepts and application
of floating photovoltaic farms with a case history in a water supply reservoir. The concept of a floating
photovoltaic farm on a pumped storage reservoir, and information on available guidelines for geomembrane systems and floating photovoltaic panels, are also presented.

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