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Paper: ETH-RC-12-008

Title: Overspill avalanching in a dense reservoir network

Authors: G. L. Mamede, N. A. M. Araujo, C. M. Schneider, J. C. de Araujo, *H. J. Herrmann


Sustainability of communities, agriculture, and industry is strongly dependent on an effective storage and supply of water resources. In some regions the economic growth has led to a level of water demand which can only be accomplished through efficient reservoir networks. Such infrastructures are not always planned at larger scale but rather made by farmers according to their local needs of irrigation during droughts. Based on extensive data from the upper Jaguaribe basin, one of the world's largest system of reservoirs, located in the Brazilian semiarid north-east, we reveal that surprisingly it self-organizes into a scale-free network exhibiting also a power-law in the distribution of the lakes and avalanches of discharges. With a new self-organized-criticality-type model we manage to explain the novel critical exponents. Implementing a flow model we are able to reproduce the measured overspill evolution providing a tool for catastrophe mitigation and future planning.

Keywords: overspill avalanching

Manuscript status: Published

Reference: PNAS 109, 7191 (2012)

JEL codes:
PACS numbers:

Local copy of the paper: ETH-RC-12-008.pdf

Submission date: 7-6-2012

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