Regional transport of water and dissolved constituents through heavily regulated river systems is influenced by the presence of reservoirs. Analysis of seasonal patterns in solute fluxes for salinity and nutrients indicates that in-reservoir processes within large storage reservoirs in the Rio Grande and Colorado basins (southwestern USA) are superimposed over the underlying watershed processes that predominate in relatively unregulated stream reaches. Connectivity of the aquatic system with the landscape is apparently disrupted by processes within the reservoir systems; these processes result in large changes in characteristics for solute transport that persist downstream in the absence of significant inputs. Additionally, reservoir processes may be linked for upstream/downstream reservoirs that are located relatively close in a series. In contrast, the regional effect of in-reservoir processes is negligible for solute transport through run-of-river reservoirs in the lower Columbia River (northwestern USA).
Additional publication details
Influence of reservoirs on solute transport: A regional-scale approach