(The following text is derived from the United States Department of Energy's description of Microhydropower Technology.)
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"Hydropower systems use the energy in flowing water to produce electricity or mechanical energy. Although there are several ways to harness the moving water to produce energy, run-of-the-river systems, which do not require large storage reservoirs, are often used for microhydropower systems.
For run-of-the-river microhydropower systems, a portion of a river's water is diverted to a water conveyance—channel, pipeline, or pressurized pipeline (penstock)—that delivers it to a turbine or waterwheel. The moving water rotates the wheel or turbine, which spins a shaft. The motion of the shaft can be used for mechanical processes, such as pumping water, or it can be used to power an alternator or generator to generate electricity.
A microhydropower system can be connected to an electric distribution system (grid-connected), or it can stand alone (off-grid)."
- ↑ 1.0 1.1
"DOE-EERE: Microhydropower System"