Reconstructing the Natural Streamflow of a Regulated River: A Case Study of La Grande Rivi�re, Qu�bec, Canada

Hern�ndez-Henr�quez, Marco A.; Mlynowski, Theo J.; D�ry, Stephen J.
September 2010
Canadian Water Resources Journal/Revue Canadienne des Ressources;Fall2010, Vol. 35 Issue 3, p301
Academic Journal
The regulation of rivers by dams, diversions, and reservoirs leads to perturbed streamflow time series, making it difficult for hydrological studies to assess natural trends and variability in runoff. This case study applies a variation of Hirsch's maintenance of variance extension (MOVE) method to reconstruct La Grande Rivi�re's 1979-2004 natural streamflow. The 1960-2004 hydrometric data for the Eastmain River and Grande Rivi�re de la Baleine are summed and compared with the 1960-1978 pre-regulated runoff time series of La Grande Rivi�re. Statistical analyses reveal a reasonable Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency (NSE) index (Ef = 0.58) and near 1:1 ratio between the standardized anomalies of the two river combination and La Grande Rivi�re's 1960-1978 natural flow records. The accuracy of the proposed method is confirmed by the low error rates and a reasonably high NSE index (Ef = 0.64) exhibited between La Grande Rivi�re's 1960-1978 observed and reconstructed monthly streamflow time series. Moreover, the reconstructed flows exhibit variability and a natural flow pattern that is indicative of nival rivers, whereas the 1984-2004 regulated flow rates from Hydro-Qu�bec show minimal streamflow variability and a flattened annual hydrograph. Trend analyses (1960-2004) in total annual runoff reveal opposite trends from the Eastmain and Grande Rivi�re de la Baleine that offset each other to yield no trend when these two rivers are used to reconstruct La Grande Rivi�re's streamflows. The methodology applied in this study is a reliable way to complete the hydrometric record of La Grande Rivi�re, making it more feasible for future studies to investigate the natural variations and possible effects of climatic forcings on the hydrological cycle of the regulated river.


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