Small-scale hydropower potential analysis and fish sampling campaign in Central Asia | Recent updates from Hydro4U partner BOKU

In Hydro4U, the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU) is represented by two institutes: the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and River Research (IWA) and the Institute of Hydrobiology and Aquatic Ecosystem Management (IHG). The BOKU team has been analysing Central Asian rivers through large-scale GIS datasets and conducting ecological and geomorphological sustainability assessments at the project’s demo sites in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.


Determination of the small-scale hydropower potential of Central Asia


A key task of the last year’s project work was to assess the small hydropower potential of Central Asia through a multi-step procedure. This was achieved by reducing the theoretical line potential towards a sustainable one by including various sustainability and technical aspects in the calculations. By achieving this milestone, a major step has been made in order to achieve one of the goals of Hydro4U: the development of a GIS-based decision support system for sustainable hydropower covering Central Asia.


The results show much untapped sustainable small-scale hydropower potential in the region. In the next step, the scenario building will be performed to assess hydropower development, for example, in the context of legal and regulatory frameworks but also ones based on different nature conservation levels.


Fish sampling campaign to At-Bashy River, Kyrgyzstan


In October 2022, Daniel S. Hayes and Bernhard Zeiringer (BOKU) travelled to the At-Bashy demo site in Kyrgyzstan to sample fish diversity with scientists from TIIAME and the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan.


The sampling campaign confirmed the presence of three fish species to be considered for sustainability assessments: the Tibetan stone loach (Triplophysa stoliczka), osman (Diptychus sewerzowi), and snow trout (Schizothorax sp.). The results indicate that fish species in the At-Bashy River system are reproducing naturally. However, the weir may hinder the spawning migration of adult fish, leading to a reduction in stock size upstream. The high abundance of subadult and adult fish, especially snow trout, in the lowest reaches of the river suggests that these areas serve as winter habitats, highlighting the importance of river connectivity for up- and downstream migrating fish.


Special Hydro4U session at IAHR 2023


The BOKU team is pleased to announce that a special session will represent the Hydro4U project at the 40th IAHR World Congress, held in Vienna, Austria, from 21-25 August 2023. The session titled “Introducing the “WFE” Nexus to Central Asia Focusing on Sustainable Development of Small Hydropower” will be chaired by experts from TUM (Nils Rüther and Hannah Schwedhelm), BOKU (Jan de Keyser and Daniel S. Hayes), and HSOL (Tobias Siegfried).


The conveners look forward to an exciting session and welcome you to join!


Registration is open: Registration – IAHR World Congress

Authors: Daniel S. Hayes, Jan De Keyser, BOKU


Picture Credits: Daniel S. Hayes, Jan De Keyser et al.