The detailed study of the needs and feasibility of the maintenance of the flow regimes established in the river reaches located downstream from dams is an issue which is appearing more and more often as part of the basic considerations for hydraulic and environmental planning as well as for the exploitation of hydraulic resources. The management of a complex system of reservoirs, rivers and waste treatment plants, such as in the case of the Canal de Isabel II of Madrid, regards the needs and feasibility factors as parts of the overall hydraulic planning program of its watersheds. The complexity of Madrid's hydraulic system and the influence that erroneous conclusions could exert upon determining the discharge regimes has prompted the Canal de Isabel II to adopt more technical aids than commonly used for these types of studies. It was necessary to integrate a wide range of mathematical models for water quality, resource management and instream flow, so that ultimately, each alternative could be contrasted with its corresponding economic and social costs.

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