Small Hydropower Systems in Water Distribution Networks

Funding: Province of Tyrol

Project Partners: hydro-IT GmbH; DI JAROSCH Hannes
Project Leader: Robert SITZENFREI
Project Duration: 08/2012 – 10/2013
Project Flyer:  


Providing secure and sustainable produced energy is a central aim of an Austrian climate strategy. For that reason, it is intensified to develop system solutions for efficient use of sustainably generated energy under consideration of synergies. For an energy independency of regions, an important step is to integrate local, decentralized solutions for renewable energy sources. Also, it is reasonable to have an optimal cost-value ratio. Currently, not only in Austria there is an enforcement of micro hydro systems in water distribution systems. Usually these systems are installed by substituting pressure reducing valves. To determine optimized positions for such systems, no model based approaches have yet been developed. Further, no models for an operation optimization under consideration of the variable boundary conditions of water distribution systems are available. Aim of this project is to investigate and determine specific potentials for energy production in water distribution systems. The assessment is done under consideration of economic potentials. Based on existing elements in water distribution systems, synergy effects but also conflicts of potable water supply and energy management are identified and quantified. For a consideration of enhanced boundary conditions (i.e. water production, transport, and consumption) integrated and optimized concepts for water and energy efficiency can be developed. In the regional municipal energy concept, the requirements of potable water (future demand, quality, security, rehabilitation, etc.) and of energy supply (storage of regenerative energy, decentralized production, supply security, optimal efficiency of ressources, etc.) are considered.

Articles in Journals and Conference Proceedings:


  • World Environmental and Water Resources Congress (EWRI) 2012, Albuquerque, US
    R. Sitzenfrei: Identifying Hydropower Potential in Water Distribution Systems of Alpine Regions
  • World Environmental and Water Resources Congress (EWRI) 2014, Portland, US
    R. Sitzenfrei: Long time simulations and analysis of future scenario for design and benefit cost analysis of small hydro power in water distribution system
  • World Environmental and Water Resources Congress (EWRI) 2016, West Palm Beach, US
    R. Sitzenfrei: Design of interacting small hydropower systems in water distribution networks under the consideration of demand uncertainties and rehabilitation measures
  • Water Distribution System Analysis (WDSA) 2014, Bari, IT
    R. Sitzenfrei: Design and optimization of small hydropower systems in water distribution networks based on 10years simulation with Epanet2
  • Trinkwasserkraft - Workshop für Wasserversorger, Fügen, AT
    R. Sitzenfrei: Potenziale, Standorte und Wirtschaftlichkeit - Ergebnisse der Machbarkeitsstudie "Trinkwasserkraftwerke"


  • R. Fröhlich (Bachelorarbeit, 2012, Supervisor: R. Sitzenfrei):
    Potential for Generation of Power in Water Distribution Networks (Energieerzeugungspotential in der Wasserversorgung)
  • J. von Leon (Masterarbeit, 2013 Supervisor: R. Sitzenfrei, W. Rauch):
    Modelling and Spatial Optimization of Hydropower Systems in Water Distribution Networks (Modellierung und örtliche Optimierung von Trinkwasserkraftwerken)
  • D. Berger (Masterarbeit, 2014 Supervisor: R. Sitzenfrei, W. Rauch):
    Modelling and Optimization of Water Distribution Networks Based on Spatial Sensitivity Analysis and Long-term Simulation (Modellierung und örtliche Optimierung von Wasserversorgungsnetzwerken mittels räumlich referenzierter Sensitivitätsanalyse und Langzeitsimulation)
  • R. Sitzenfrei (Habilitationsschrift):
    An integrated view of the urban water cycle: A shift in the paradigm?