Hydropower-to-environment water transfers in the Zambezi basin


Power2Flow is a research project aimed at analyzing the reallocation of water between hydropower and environment in the Zambezi basin.

There is growing consensus worldwide that in hydropower dominated river basins, the allocation of water can no longer be only driven by energy demand; rather a balance must be found between hydropower and the environment in a move towards sustainability.  Reservoir operating policies are often determined for individual projects, with the sole objective of maximizing energy revenue whilst considering minimum flow requirements as constraints to be considered later.

This approach is unable to consider (i) the relationship between flow, habitat and environmental benefits for biodiversity and people, and (ii) the potential synergies between several hydropower facilities within the same basin. The research project aims to address these shortcomings. 

The project is funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Development Cooperation (DGIS) through the IHE Delft Partnership Research Fund (UPaRF). 

Cahora Bassa Dam (© International Rivers)