Effects of upstream dams versus groundwater pumping on stream temperature under varying climate conditions

Water Resources Research
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Abstract

The relative impact of a large upstream dam versus in‐reach groundwater pumping on stream temperatures was analyzed for humid, semiarid, and arid conditions with long dry seasons to represent typical climate regions where large dams are present, such as the western United States or eastern Australia. Stream temperatures were simulated using the CE‐QUAL‐W2 water quality model over a 110 km model grid, with the presence or absence of a dam at the top of the reach and pumping in the lower 60 km of the reach. Measured meteorological data from three representative locations were used as model input to simulate the impact of varying climate conditions on streamflow and stream temperature. For each climate condition four hypothetical streamflow scenarios were modeled: (1) natural (no dam or pumping), (2) large upstream dam present, (3) dam with in‐reach pumping, and (4) no dam with pumping, resulting in 12 cases. Dam removal, in the presence or absence of pumping, resulted in significant changes in stream temperature throughout the year for all three climate conditions. From March to August, the presence of a dam caused monthly mean stream temperatures to decrease on average by approximately 3.0°C, 2.5°C, and 2.0°C for the humid, semiarid, and arid conditions, respectively; however, stream temperatures generally increased from September to February. Pumping caused stream temperatures to warm in summer and cool in winter by generally less than 0.5°C because of a smaller pumping‐induced alteration in streamflow relative to the dam. Though the presence or absence of a large dam led to greater changes in stream temperature than the presence or absence of pumping, ephemeral conditions were increased both temporally and spatially because of pumping.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Effects of upstream dams versus groundwater pumping on stream temperature under varying climate conditions
Series title Water Resources Research
DOI 10.1029/2009WR008587
Volume 46
Issue 6
Year Published 2010
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Contributing office(s) Toxic Substances Hydrology Program
Description 32 p.