Research

Future flow projections and their impacts on reservoir operation

Short project description

Climate change induced by the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will have significant effects on spatial and temporal patterns of hydrologically relevant variables. Consequently, climate change has a great impact on water management, for example, reservoir operation. In this project, potential impacts of climate change on Xinanjiang and Fuchunjiang cascade reservoir operation performances will be investigated. Qiantang River Basin, located in the east of China, lying between 117° and 122° and 28° and 31°, has an area of about 55,600 km2. The basin is dominated by a sub-tropical humid monsoon climate, with abundant rainfall. Peak runoff usually occurs between May and July, causing occasionally large floods. There have been floods in the years of 1955, 1969 and 1999, recorded by local studies. In June 2011, a flood, the biggest in the past 56 years, occurred in Qiantang River Basin, which made the local people suffering a big disaster and brought large economic losses. Also, during drought periods, downstream water supply shortage is an important issue due to increasing population and salt intrusion. It is, therefore, of great importance to investigate the impact of climate change on reservoir operation, helping local government make decisions to cope with climate change.

GCMs (General Circulation Models) are widely applied for weather forecasting, understanding the climate, and projecting climate change. However, there is a mismatch of spatial grid scales between GCMs and hydrological processes at a catchment scale. In this study, a dynamic downscaling approach (PRECIS) will be used to downscale global climate data to basin scale data. Regional Climate Model (RCM) projections from PRECIS (Providing REgional Climates for Impacts Studies, http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/precis/) will be evaluated and coupled with a hydrological model, SWAT (Soil and Water Assessment Tool). Two different GCMs under three different emission scenarios will be used as boundary conditions. Projected flows from the hydrological model will then be used as input to a river basin simulation model for reservoir operation purposes. Finally, analysis of climate change impacts on reservoir operation will be investigated with possible mitigation options to reduce climate change impacts through adaptation of reservoir operation policies.

Persons involved

Xujie Zhang BSc (PhD student)

dr. Yueping Xu (daily supervisor in China)

dr. ir. Martijn J. Booij (daily supervisor in the Netherlands)

Publications [see ‘Publications’ for PDF-file or request free hard copy]

Zhang, X., Booij, M.J. and Xu, Y.P., 2014. Improved simulation of peak flows under climate change: post-processing or multi-objective calibration? AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts, GC41E-0625.

Zhang, X., Booij, M.J. and Xu, Y.P., 2015. Improved simulation of peak flows under climate change: post-processing or composite objective calibration? Journal of Hydrometeorology, 16, 2187-2208.