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01.11.2011 | Ausgabe 14/2011

Water Resources Management 14/2011

Reservoirs Effects on the Interannual Variability of Winter and Spring Streamflow in the St-Maurice River Watershed (Quebec, Canada)

Zeitschrift:
Water Resources Management > Ausgabe 14/2011
Autoren:
Ali A. Assani, Raphaëlle Landry, Jonathan Daigle, Alain Chalifour

Abstract

The aim of this study was to test three main hypotheses about the interannual variability of streamflow downstream from dams: (1) an almost similar long-term trend in interannual variability, (2) low variability of flow, and (3) its independence (no link) from climate variability. To test these hypotheses, the interannual variability of winter and spring streamflow downstream from three reservoirs (Gouin, Manouane, and Matawin) which induce an inversion of the natural cycle of streamflow (maximum flows in winter and minimum flows in spring) was compared to the interannual variability of streamflow in natural rivers (measured at the Matawin and Vermillon stations) over the period from 1932 to 2008 in the St-Maurice River watershed. As far as the interannual variability of flow is concerned, its long-term trend is not homogeneous downstream from the three reservoirs in both seasons. However, downstream from two reservoirs, changes in streamflow were observed to be different from those in natural rivers (no significant trend downstream from the Taureau reservoir, on the Matawin River, and significant decrease in spring flow downstream from the Manouane reservoir). Finally, coefficient of variation values for minimum flows are higher downstream from reservoirs than in natural rivers, despite the fact that watershed surface area is larger for regulated rivers than for natural ones. As for the link with climate variability, analysis of the correlation between climate variables (temperature and precipitation) and mean winter and spring daily streamflow reveals that winter streamflow downstream from the Taureau reservoir is not correlated with any climate variable, whereas spring streamflow is positively correlated with rainfall and negatively correlated with maximum temperature. Thus, downstream from reservoirs, the interannual variability of streamflow depends on climate during the spring, but not during winter.

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