Water Resources (Hydrology) Group

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Research

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CURRENT Projects

International Collaborations

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA):                                                                                     Experiment in Stable Isotope Snow Melt Runoff Measurement.

In the 2010-2011 and 2012-13 winter seasons, our group participated in a pilot field study assessing isotopic changes (d18O, d2H) in snowpack and snowmelt runoff.  We were one of a handfull of sites from 4 countries (the only Canadian site) around the world using standardized equipment to capture and measure snowpack accumulation, and isotopic signature of the snowpack throughout the winter, as well as the melt water runoff composition. (IAEA Water & Environment News)

REMOiso

Our group is working with Dr. Kristoff Sturm (Stockholm University, Sweden) to test and evaluate modelled isotopes in precipitation over Canada from regional climate model, REMO in our isotopically-enabled hydrologic model, isoWATFLOOD. (Birks & Gibson, CWRJ 34:2, 2009)

 

National Partnerships & Collaborations

 NSERC Create: Water and Sanitation Security in First Nations      

Starting in winter 2013, a five year program supported by NSERC and researchers across canada was launched to ensure secure community water systems in northern and remote communities and enhance aquatic ecosystem services. CREATE H2O graduates will assist First Nations, manufacturers of water and wastewater treatment systems, engineering and environmental firms and government policy analysts at a crucial time when First Nations drinking water regulations are coming into effect for the first time.

http://rmcqueen.ca/create/

Environment Canada, Meteorlogical Research Division:                                                              Development of Canadian Precipitation Analysis (CaPA) over Manitoba Watersheds.

CaPA is a computer optimization model that produces gridded estimates of precipitation. The objective of this project is to develop a CaPA product over the Nelson, Churchill, Saskatchewan, Red and Winnipeg River basins.  Once developed CaPA will be used to drive hydrological simulations in WATFLOOD to improve streamflow forecasts over data-sparse regions. (Carrera, Fortin & Belair, 2009)

         Download presentations from the recent CaPA update meeting on 28June2012 (14+mb)

AITF Alberta Innovates Technology Futures:                                                                                 Hydrological Variability in the Mackenzie River Basin.

The focus of this collaborative research project is to develop a tool for improved quantification of hydrological budgets and process variability in Mackenzie River Basin (MRB).  The iso-hydrological modelling system, isoWATFLOOD, and an improved methodology for isotope in precipitation prediction within the isoWATFLOOD model will be developed and applied to the MRB. Utilizing an isotopically-enabled atmospheric and hydrological modelling system, the impacts of changing climate are being assessed on the hydrology of this large Canadian river system.  

Hydro QC     Ouranos      

Impact of climate change in Canadian river basins and adaptation strategies for the hydropower industry.

The proposed project aims to improve the understanding of climate change impacts on river runoff and to investigate adaptation strategies in areas of interest to Hydro-Quebec and Manitoba Hydro, with future climate projections provided from Ouranos and the Canadian RCM (CRCM). The project has four major interconnected themes/objectives: 

  1. Develop climate projections at the watershed scale based on a combination of GCM, RCM and statistical approaches;

  2. Investigate changes in hydrologic variables such as streamflow, soil moisture and snow cover over selected catchments of interest to Hydro-Québec and Manitoba Hydro through the application of hydrological models;

  3. Evaluate the uncertainty related to climate change flow projections; and

  4. Assess the climate change impact on hydropower facilities and explore potential adaptation strategies.

Our WRHG is contributing to objective 3, using multiple hydrological models to simulate streamflow under various future climates (from the CRCM) in the Churchill River Basin.    

Restoring the Tradition: Delta Marsh

The proposed project aims to restore Delta Marsh, at the southern end of Lake Manitoba, to its original quality and integrity as one of the world's largest wetland ecosystems. The objectives of our research here are to understand the Lake Manitoba watersheds water balance, and to quantify Marsh runoff contributions.  This study will quantify individual water balance components, such as runoff and evaporation, and will provide critical input data (i.e., total runoff) for the hydraulic modeling of the Delta Marsh water levels.  In particular, we will define:

  • The effect runoff generation has on water level variations and seasonal cycling.

  • The sensitivity of runoff (and Marsh water levels) to changes in land-use in the watershed.

  •  The relationship between water quality and hydrologic variation

  •  The expected range of hydrologic variation with plausible changes in climate

 

Local Field & Experimental Programs

Development of a River Water Isotope Monitoring Network in Manitoba:  Initiated in 2010, a watershed-scale isotopes in river sampling program through the Nelson River watershed was under-taken in collaboration with Manitoba Hydro.  The objective of the program is to assess the regional controls on the Nelson River water balance over a three year experimental period.

Using Stable Water Isotopes to Quanitfy Lake Evaporation:  On-going since 2009, we are collecting stable water isotope samples from two lakes in the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) in north western Ontario. The samples are being used as a means to evaluate lake evaporation from the lakes in a coupled isotope-water balance modelling approach.

 


WATFLOOD Research & Development

Landcover modification under climate change (2009): A section of code was written within WATFLOOD that allows landcover, specifically interception capacity of forested regions, to respond to changes in temperature and precipitation. (Wruth, B.Sc. Thesis).

Rainfall-disaggregation module (2009):  A methodology to disaggregate daily rainfall into hourly increments using a known, and accepted rainfall distribution from nearby hourly stations with complete weather records. (Wruth, research placement).

Climate change modelling module (2009):  A module was developed that allows historical records of temperature and precipitation to be perturbed to represent possible future climates (using the delta-delta method) in WATFLOOD.  Delta values are obtained directly from global climate models (GCMs), applying different scenarios to generate a unique parameter set for each future climate and scenario.  (Slota, B.Sc. Thesis).

Isotope module (2008):  An isotopically-enabled version of WATFLOOD, simulating d18O isotope tracers through every aspect of the hydrologic cycle was developed. (Stadnyk-Falcone, Ph.D. Thesis).

Wetland module (2001): Based on the PhD thesis work of McKillop (University of Waterloo), wetland routing was added to WATFLOOD to simulate reversible flow into and out-of riparian wetlands adjacent to channels, common in northern Canadian terrain. (Stadnyk, research placement).

 


COMPLETED Projects

Water Supply Assessment for the Community of Pangnirtung.  Preliminary watershed model & report completed for Arktis Consulting.

Grand River Conservation Authority Baseflow Study. Comparison of simulated baseflows generated from HYSEP, BFLOW and WATFLOOD models: 2004 - 2008

Fort Simpson, NWT Baseflow Validation. Validation of baseflow separations using stable water isotopes: 2004 - 2008.