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Open AccessArticle

Climate Change Impacts on Reservoir Inflow in the Prairie Pothole Region: A Watershed Model Analysis

1
Department of Civil Engineering, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB R3T 5V6, Canada
2
Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, The Ohio State University, 590 Woody Hayes Dr, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
3
Hydrologic Forecasting & Coordination, Manitoba Infrastructure, 2nd Floor-280 Broadway, Winnipeg, MB R3C 0R8, Canada
4
Department of Geography, University of Calgary, ESB 458, 2500 University Dr NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(1), 271; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12010271
Received: 6 December 2019 / Revised: 6 January 2020 / Accepted: 15 January 2020 / Published: 17 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Climate Change on Water Resources)
The Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) is known for its hydrologically complex landscape with a large number of pothole wetlands. However, most watershed-scale hydrologic models that are applied in this region are incapable of representing the dynamic nature of contributing area and fill-spill processes affected by pothole wetlands. The inability to simulate these processes represents a critical limitation for operators and flood forecasters and may hinder the management of large reservoirs. We used a modified version of the soil water assessment tool (SWAT) model capable of simulating the dynamics of variable contributing areas and fill-spill processes to assess the impact of climate change on upstream inflows into the Shellmouth reservoir (also called Lake of the Prairie), which is an important reservoir built to provide multiple purposes, including flood and drought mitigation. We calibrated our modified SWAT model at a daily time step using SUFI-2 algorithm within SWAT-CUP for the period 1991–2000 and validated for 2005–2014, which gave acceptable performance statistics for both the calibration (KGE = 0.70, PBIAS = −13.5) and validation (KGE = 0.70, PBIAS = 21.5) periods. We then forced the calibrated model with future climate projections using representative concentration pathways (RCPs; 4.5, 8.5) for the near (2011–2040) and middle futures (2041–2070) of multiple regional climate models (RCMs). Our modeling results suggest that climate change will lead to a two-fold increase in winter streamflow, a slight increase in summer flow, and decrease spring peak flows into the Shellmouth reservoir. Investigating the impact of climate change on the operation of the Shellmouth reservoir is critically important because climate change could present significant challenges to the operation and management of the reservoir. View Full-Text
Keywords: swat; prairie pothole region; climate change; lake of the prairie; uncertainty; sufi-2; fill-spill hydrology swat; prairie pothole region; climate change; lake of the prairie; uncertainty; sufi-2; fill-spill hydrology
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Muhammad, A.; Evenson, G.R.; Unduche, F.; Stadnyk, T.A. Climate Change Impacts on Reservoir Inflow in the Prairie Pothole Region: A Watershed Model Analysis. Water 2020, 12, 271.

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