State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2009GU164B
Title: Prediction of Flow Duration Curves for Use in Hydropower Analysis at Ungaged Sites in Pohnpei, FSM
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2009
End Date: 2/28/2010
Congressional District: N/A
Focus Categories: Hydrology, Surface Water, Water Use
Keywords: Hydropower, Flow duration curves, Streams
Principal Investigators: Khosrowpanah, Shahram (WERI University of Guam); Leroy F. Heitz
Federal Funds: $ 31,746
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 0
Abstract: The cost and availability of energy resources is one key factor in the economic development and quality of life in any developing country. This is especially true in the Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), where nearly all of the energy produced is from costly, non-renewable, and potentially environmentally damaging fossil fuel (oil) resources. The cost of fuel to operate the local power plant has risen dramatically over the past years and no doubt will continue to rise in the future. With these increases of fuel costs, it becomes more and more important to explore other means of providing energy to the islands power grid.

Pohnpei is blessed with an abundance of surface water resources and because of the extreme topography of the island many of these streams have very high slopes. This combination of abundant streamflow and high stream gradient or slope is ideal for the application of run-of-river-hydropower development. This kind of hydropower development has the least environmental impact and is generally less capital intensive than typical hydropower plants built in conjunction with high dams with large amounts of water storage.

In order to explore the feasibility of using hydropower as an additional energy source for Pohnpei, it is necessary to be able to define the variability of flow available in the streams where the hydropower plants might be constructed. This is normally done by direct analyses of streamflow data for the stream in question or by applying some sort of inferential techniques from a gaged to an ungaged streams or from a gaged location on a stream to an ungaged location on that same stream. Of course, the most reliable means is to use actual stream flow data measured at the point of interest. The problem in Pohnpei, as in most locations, is that stream flow information is not available for all possible sites where development could occur. In the FSM this problem is even more acute since the streamflow gaging network has been abandoned for almost 30 years. What is needed is a means of predicting the variability of flow at ungaged locations that are likely to become candidate sites for future hydropower development. The results of this project will be the development of a means of predicting flow duration curves at ungaged sites in Pohnpei. All of the major streams of the island will be divided into stream reaches, or homogenous sections of a stream, that have similar flow properties. These reaches will be identified on maps developed from the detailed Geographic Information System (GIS) map inventory of Pohnpei available at WERI. Various statistical and analytical methods will be applied to the existing streamflow data and physically characteristics of the reaches in order to predict the streamflow in each stream reach.

The final results will be a series of maps of the streams of Pohnpei with each stream reach identified. A series of tables will be provided with the flow duration characteristic for the mid point of each stream reach. A means will also be provide to perform preliminary turbine sizing and hydropower economic analyses.

Progress/Completion Report, 2009, PDF

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