Evaporation from Camargos hydropower plant reservoir: water footprint characterization

ABSTRACT In recent years, a relevant debate has been raised by a question related to if the hydropower plants indeed represent a non-consumptive use of water resources. In this context, this work was developed at the Camargos Hydropower Plant reservoir, Grande river basin, southern Minas Gerais state, aiming to estimate evaporation rates, which allow the characterization of the Water Footprint in this facility, between the years of 2010 and 2014. Evaporation rates were estimated based on Linacre, Penman and Penman-Monteith methods. Regarding the distribution of evaporation throughout the year, all methods showed the same seasonal pattern, consistent with the meteorological elements behavior that influence this physical process. Although an annual average evaporation considered normal for the studied region (1329 mm) and a small reservoir area (64 km2), this hydropower plant has presented low electric energy production as it is an old facility (more than 50 years) and has low installed capacity. Therefore, Camargos Hydropower Plant has presented, by all methods, a high Water Footprint (130 m3.GJ–1 on average) compared to estimates for other hydropower plants in Brazil and worldwide.