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Volume 22, issue 7 | Copyright
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 22, 4015-4032, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 26 Jul 2018

Research article | 26 Jul 2018

Evaporation suppression and energy balance of water reservoirs covered with self-assembling floating elements

Milad Aminzadeh1,a, Peter Lehmann1, and Dani Or1 Milad Aminzadeh et al.
  • 1Department of Environmental Systems Science, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  • anow at: Department of Civil Engineering, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan, Iran

Abstract. The growing pressure on natural freshwater resources and the projected climate variability are expected to increase the need for water storage during rainy periods. Evaporative losses present a challenge for the efficiency of water storage in reservoirs, especially in arid regions with chronic water shortages. Among the available methods for suppressing evaporative losses, self-assembling floating elements offer a simple and scalable solution, especially for small reservoirs. The use of floating elements has often been empirically based; we thus seek a framework for systematic consideration of floating element properties, local climate and reservoir conditions to better predict evaporative loss, energy balance and heat fluxes from covered water reservoirs. We linked the energy balance of the water column with energy considerations of the floating elements. Results suggest significant suppression of evaporative losses from covered reservoirs in which incoming radiative energy is partitioned to sensible and long wave fluxes that reduce latent heat flux and thus increase the Bowen ratio over covered water reservoirs. Model findings were consistent with laboratory-scale observations using an uncovered and covered small basin. The study offers a physically based framework for testing design scenarios in terms of evaporation suppression efficiency for various climatic conditions; it hence strengthens the science in the basis of this important water resource conservation strategy.

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Short summary
Significant evaporative losses from local water reservoirs in arid regions exacerbate water shortages during dry spells. We propose a systematic approach for modeling energy balance and fluxes from covered water bodies using self-assembling floating elements, considering cover properties and local conditions. The study will provide a scientific and generalized basis for designing and implementing this important water conservation strategy to assist with its adaptation in various arid regions.
Significant evaporative losses from local water reservoirs in arid regions exacerbate water...