In-stream flow impact on river water temperatures

Bashar A. Sinokrot, John S. Gulliver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


The Central Platte River often experiences high water temperatures during sunny, hot summer days. A 128-km reach of the Platte River downstream of two hydropower dams (Kingsley Dam and North Platte/Keystone Diversion Dam) was studied to determine the relationship between river summer water temperatures and river flow-rate, and the impacts of in-stream flow requirements upon peak water temperatures. This reach serves as a habitat for eight federally listed or endangered species, as well as over 300 species of migratory birds, including 500,000 sandhill cranes and 7-9 million ducks and geese. Hourly water temperatures were simulated using a dynamic numerical model (MNSTREM) with and without in-stream flow requirements. It was found that a clear relationship exists between river water temperatures and river flow-rate. In addition, it was found that the occurence of high water temperatures can be attributed to low river flow-rate and can be reduced, but not eliminated, with minimum in-stream flow requirements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-349
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Hydraulic Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000

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