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Structural and Non-Structural Climate Change Adaptation Strategies for the Péribonka Water Resource System

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This paper discusses the possibility for a privately managed hydro-power system to adapt to a projected increase in water flow in their central-Québec watersheds by adding power generation potential. Runoffs simulated by a lumped rainfall-runoff model were fed into a stochastic dynamic programming (SDP) routine to generate reservoir operating rules. These rules were optimized for maximum power generation under maximal and minimal reservoir level constraints. With these optimized rules, a power generation simulator was used to predict the amount of generated hydropower. The same steps, excluding calibration, were performed on 60 climate projections (from 23 general circulation models and 3 greenhouse gas emission scenarios) for future horizons 2036–2065 and 2071–2100. Reservoir operation rules were optimized for every climate change projection for the 3 power plants in the system. From these simulations, it was possible to determine hydropower numbers for both horizons. The same steps were performed under a modified system in which an additional turbine was added to each power plant. Results show that both the non-structural (optimizing reservoir rules) and structural (adding turbines) adaptation measures allow for increased power production, but that adapting operating rules is sufficient to reap the most of the benefits of increased water availability.

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The authors would like to thank Line Bourdages from the Ouranos Consortium on Regional Climatology and Adaptation to Climate Change (www.ouranos.ca) for her help in preparing the climate change projections. We also thank Pascal Côté from Rio Tinto Alcan for his help with updating the SDP routine with the added turbines. Finally, we wish to thank the anonymous reviewers whose comments greatly benefitted the quality of this paper.

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Correspondence to Richard Arsenault.

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Arsenault, R., Brissette, F., Malo, J. et al. Structural and Non-Structural Climate Change Adaptation Strategies for the Péribonka Water Resource System. Water Resour Manage 27, 2075–2087 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11269-013-0275-6

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