Publications & Data

Hydropower globally represents the main source of renewable energy, and provides several benefits, e.g., water storage and flexibility; on the other hand, it may cause significant impacts on the environment. Hence sustainable hydropower needs to achieve a balance between electricity generation, impacts on ecosystems and benefits on society, supporting the achievement of the Green Deal targets. The implementation of digital, information, communication and control (DICC) technologies is emerging as an effective strategy to support such a trade-off, especially in the European Union (EU), fostering both the green and the digital transitions. In this study, we show how DICC can foster the environmental integration of hydropower into the Earth spheres, with focus on the hydrosphere (e.g., on water quality and quantity, hydropeaking mitigation, environmental flow control), biosphere (e.g., improvement of riparian vegetation, fish habitat and migration), atmosphere (reduction of methane emissions and evaporation from reservoirs), lithosphere (better sediment management, reduction of seepages), and on the anthroposphere (e.g., reduction of pollution associated to combined sewer overflows, chemicals, plastics and microplastics). With reference to the abovementioned Earth spheres, the main DICC applications, case studies, challenges, Technology Readiness Level, benefits and limitations, and transversal benefits for energy generation and predictive Operation and Maintenance, are discussed.

Quaranta, E., Bejarano, M. D., Comoglio, C., Fuentes-Pérez, J. F., Pérez-Díaz, J. I., Sanz-Ronda, F. J., ... & Tuhtan, J. A. (2023). Digitalization and real-time control to mitigate environmental impacts of artificial barriers in rivers: Focus on hydropower systems and European priorities. Science of The Total Environment, 162489. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.162489


Water temperature and flow velocity directly affect the fish swimming capacity, and thus, both variables influence the fish passage through river barriers. Nonetheless, their effects are usually disregarded in fishway engineering and management. This study aims to evaluate the volitional swimming capacity of the northern straight-mouth nase (Pseudochondrostoma duriense), considering the possible effects of water temperature, flow velocity and body size. For this, the maximum distance, swim speed and fatigue time (FT) were studied in an outdoor open-channel flume in the Duero River (Burgos, Spain) against three nominal velocities and temperatures , also including the changes between swimming modes (prolonged and sprint). The provided information goes a step forward in the definition of real fish swimming capacities, and in turn, will contribute to establish clear passage criteria for thermo-velocity barriers, allowing the calculation of the proportion of fish able to pass a barrier under different working scenarios, as well designing of the optimized solutions to improve the fish passage through river barriers

García-Vega, A., Ruiz-Legazpi, J., Fuentes-Pérez, J. F., Bravo-Córdoba, F. J., & Sanz-Ronda, F. J. (2023). Effect of thermo‐velocity barriers on fish: influence of water temperature, flow velocity and body size on the volitional swimming capacity of northern straight-mouth nase (Pseudochondrostoma duriense). Journal of Fish Biology. DOI: 10.1111/jfb.15310


Hydrological variability can alter the flow structures of fish passes. To determine if these conditions are within the physical capabilities of fish, it is necessary to measure the hydraulic conditions under different scenarios. Drifters have the potential to facilitate these measurements at a fraction of the cost of traditional monitoring methods. These floating objects are equipped with sensors that can passively follow the movements of water, collecting and transmitting information about their movement and the surrounding environment. In this paper, we present and assess a low-cost, customizable drifter developed with off-the-shelf components. One of the main goals of this work is to establish an open hardware and software foundation to increase the use of drifters in river and fishway studies.

Fuentes-Pérez, J. F., Sanz-Ronda, F. J., & Tuhtan, J. A. (2022). An Open Surface Drifter for River Flow Field Characterization. Sensors, 22(24), 9918. DOI: 10.3390/s22249918


To assess the effect of hydrological variability on fishways it is necessary to stablish the passage limits of fish. In this paper we show how under specific circustances fish are able to surpass the design recomendations of fishways. To do so, assess brown trout (Salmo trutta) passage through a free-flow pool-weir-type fishway with hydrodynamic notches and extreme water drops between pools. The initial hypothesis, considering the fishway design and assessment guidelines, classified this structure as hardly insurmountable. Results showed an ascent success of 19% with a median transit time of 29.1 min/m of ascended height. Larger fish and fishway sections with lower values of volumetric power dissipation were related to a better performance in the passage.

Bravo-Córdoba, F. J., Fuentes-Pérez, J. F., García-Vega, A., Peñas, F. J., Barquín, J., & Sanz-Ronda, F. J. (2022). Brown Trout Upstream Passage Performance for a Fishway with Water Drops between Pools beyond Fish Passage Design Recommendations. Water, 14(17), 2750. DOI: 10.3390/w14172750


Hydrological variability not only affects the passage through fishways but also influences the permeability of obstacles. In this paper, we explore the possible impact of flat-V gauging stations to fish passage and migration. For this, radio-tracking and video monitoring observations were combined with computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models and sensor data in two flat-V weirs, using Iberian barbel (Luciobarbus bocagei) as target species. Results show that fish passage is conditioned by both hydraulic and behavioral processes, providing evidences about the hydrological scenarios where flat-V weirs may act as full or partial barriers to upstream movements. These findings are of interest to quantify flat-V weir impacts, for engineering applications and to establish managing or retrofitting actions when required.

Sanz-Ronda, F. J., Bravo-Córdoba, F. J., García-Vega, A.,Valbuena-Castro, J., Martínez de Azagra-Paredes, A., & Fuentes-Pérez, J. F.(2021). Fish Upstream Passage Through Gauging Stations. Experiences With Iberian Barbel in Flat-V Weirs. Fhises 2021, 6, 81. DOI: 10.3390/fishes6040081

Gauging Station

This paper explores the use of hydraulic monitoring on fishways to detect the need for maintenance in stepped fishways. For this, a novel low-cost sensor network that encapsulates fishways hydraulics in a neural network is developed, generating the first autonomous obstruction/malfunction detection system for stepped fishways. The system is based on a network of custom-made ultrasonic water level nodes that transmit data and alarms remotely and in real-time. Its performance was assessed in a field study case as well as offline, considering the influence of the number of sensing nodes and obstruction dimensions. Results show that the proposed system can detect malfunctions and that allows monitoring of the hydraulic performance of the fishway. Consequently, it optimizes the timing of maintenance on fishways and, thus, has the potential of automatizing and reducing the cost of these operations as well as augmenting the service of these structures. Therefore, this novel tool is a step forward to achieve smart fishway management and to increase their operability.

Fuentes-Pérez, J. F.,García-Vega, A., Bravo-Córdoba, F. J., & Sanz-Ronda, F. J. (2021). A Step to Smart Fishways: An Autonomous Obstruction Detection System Using Hydraulic Modeling and Sensor Networks. Sensors 2021, 21(20), 6909. DOI: 10.3390/s21206909



Fuentes-Pérez, J. F.,García-Vega, A., Bravo-Córdoba, F. J., & Sanz-Ronda, F. J. (2023). Real-time monitoring of fishway performance using a customizable sensor network architecture. XVII Young Researchers Meeting on Conservation and Sustainable Use of Forest Systems. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.7780604

Fuentes-Pérez, J. F.,García-Vega, A., Bravo-Córdoba, F. J., & Sanz-Ronda, F. J. (2022). Smart fishways: real-time sensorization of fishways for autonomous assessment and management of their performance. The 2022 International Symposium on Ecohydraulics. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.7780532

Fuentes-Pérez, J. F.,García-Vega, A., Bravo-Córdoba, F. J., & Sanz-Ronda, F. J. (2021). Smart Fishways: A Sensor Network for the Assessment of Fishway Performance. SIBIC 2022. Published in Biology and Life Sciences Forum (Vol. 13, No. 1, p. 20). DOI: 10.3390/blsf2022013076

Public deliverables

WP0: Data Management
WP1: WLN sensor network development
WP2: Installation of the WLN
WP3: Development of a fish counter and environmental variables logger
WP4: Smart Fishways
WP5: Dissemination and Explotation
WP6: Project Management

The Data Management Plan describes the data management life cycle for all data sets that will be collected, processed or generated by Smart Fishway. It is a document describing what data will be collected, processed or generated and following what methodology and standards, whether and how this data will be shared and/or made open, and how it will be curated and preserved. It is a living document that will be periodically updated.

  Last update: 01.12.2021

The "Water level monitoring sensor network" deliverable contains a detailed description of the developed sensor network to capture the hydraulic behaviour of stepped fishways to assess their performance under different hydrological scenarios.

  Uploaded: 01.12.2021

This first deliverable of "Webpage and Social media" contains a detailed description of the webpage architecture, which is a window for the general audience and stakeholders as well as a server to storage and real-time visualization of all collected data in field and main outcomes of the project.

In addition, this and succesive deliverables of the WP5 summarize all the social media interactions and dissemination activities.

  Uploaded: 01.12.2021