Get access

Influence of dam-induced hydrological regulation on summer water temperature: Sauce Grande River, Argentina

Authors

  • Ana Casado,

    Corresponding author
    1. UMR 6042, GEOLAB, CNRS, Clermont-Ferrand, France
    2. Departamento de Geografía y Turismo, Universidad Nacional del Sur – CONICET, Bahía Blanca, Argentina
    • GEOLAB, BP 10448, Clermont Université, Université Blaise Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand, France
    Search for more papers by this author
  • David M. Hannah,

    1. School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jean-Luc Peiry,

    1. GEOLAB, BP 10448, Clermont Université, Université Blaise Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand, France
    2. UMR 6042, GEOLAB, CNRS, Clermont-Ferrand, France
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Alicia M. Campo

    1. Departamento de Geografía y Turismo, Universidad Nacional del Sur – CONICET, Bahía Blanca, Argentina
    Search for more papers by this author

Correspondence to: Ana Casado, Clermont Université, Université Blaise Pascal, GEOLAB, BP 10448, F-63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France.

E-mail: ana.casado@uns.edu.ar

ABSTRACT

This study quantifies for the first time the influence of flow regulation on the river thermal behaviour of an ungauged basin located in central-eastern Argentina. A 30-day data set of continuous summer hourly data was assembled for eight water temperature gauging sites deployed along the main channel upstream and downstream from the impoundment. Analysis methods include descriptive statistics of daily temperature data, classification of diurnal regimes by relative differences in the ‘shape’ and the ‘magnitude’ of the thermographs (RSMC), and quantification of the climatic sensitivity of water temperature regimes using a sensitivity index. Results revealed that temporal fluctuations in water temperatures were linked to meteorological drivers; however, spatial variability in the shape and the magnitude of the thermographs revealed the effects of the dam in regulating river thermal behaviour downstream. Water temperatures immediately below the dam were reduced notably; diurnal cycles were reduced in magnitude, delayed in timing, and revealed overall climatic insensitivity and high temporal stability in regime shape. Dam effects persisted along the 15-km stretch monitored, although declined in the downstream direction. These findings provide new scientific understanding about the river water quality and inform river management about potential shifts in summer water temperature with great implications for the diversity and lifecycles of Neotropical river fauna. The use of the RSMC and sensitivity index approaches in water temperature assessment is novel and has wider applicability for quantifying river thermal regimes and their sensitivity to drivers of change over a range of temporal and spatial scales. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary