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Keywords:

  • daily extreme flows;
  • flood management mode;
  • temperature;
  • precipitation;
  • dams;
  • Quebec

ABSTRACT

The goal of the study was to compare the modes of management of seasonal floods for different dams and to constrain their impact on the relationship between climate variables and streamflow downstream from the dams. At the Rawdon dam, downstream from which the Ouareau River is characterized by a natural-type regulated flow regime, a ‘type A’ flood management mode prevails, in which the same rainfall and/or snowmelt events account for seasonal floods both in the unregulated (natural) stretch of river upstream from the dam and in the river downstream from the dam. As a result, seasonal floods in the natural setting and downstream from the dam are nearly synchronous. In contrast, downstream from the Matawin dam (Matawin River), which produces an inversion-type regulated flow regime, the prevalent flood management modes are of types B and D, whereby seasonal floods observed upstream and downstream from the dam are not caused by the same rainfall and/or snowmelt events and, as a result, are not synchronous. This difference in seasonal flood management modes affects the interannual variability of the magnitude of seasonal daily maximum flows related to the seasonal floods. Thus, the interannual variability of these flows downstream from the Matawin dam differs significantly from that of flows upstream. No correlation is observed between climate variables and streamflow downstream from the Matawin dam. This absence of correlation disappears gradually at the annual scale, at which streamflow is correlated with rainfall, as is observed upstream from the dam. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.