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Gilboa Dam rehab could be problematic

Gilboa Dam rehab could be problematic

Ongoing issues with dam


In the 1960s, Schoharie was hit with a severe drought, the Gilboa Reservoir didn’t spill for 18 months, the hypoliminion became polluted, flow at Prattsville dropped to 4.6 ft3/sec., and New York City for the first and only time opened construction tubes at the base of Gilboa Dam and dumped the polluted water into Schoharie Creek.

Now that New York City is rehabbing the Gilboa Dam, it plans to guarantee a minimum release into the Schoharie Creek. This may be possible during normal times, but I suspect New York City will not release water in case of a drought. This will put the Power Authority’s Blenheim-Gilboa pumped storage facility in danger of not being fully functional. There will be too little water from inflow to make up for evaporation and seepage losses. 

When it’s hot and windy, the exposed mud flats that are periodically flooded and submerged during pump/generation will be ideally suited at pumping water into the air. This will be driven by the temperature of the mud, humidity, air temperature and wind speed.

Any attempt to limit evaporation losses will involve putting a barrier between the mud and the air above.

Richard Moody Jr.


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