A Climate Change Framework for Global Appraisal of Reservoir Performance and National Adaptive Capacity

  • Pardis Biglarbeigi

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Climate change and population growth have influenced social and physical water scarcity in different regions. Climate change is expected to alter precipitation patterns and ultimately the hydrological cycle. Accordingly, water reservoirs, as one of the fundamental elements used to manage water resources, are anticipated to experience some changes in their future performance compared to history. Therefore, investigating these changes in water reservoir performance as a result of climate change is essential.
This study is set to find Reliability- Resiliency- Vulnerability, RRV, measures of a water reservoir under the effect of climate change in different countries with different climate zones. A Climate Change Framework, CCF, is developed to first model two hypothetical reservoirs, a large and a small reservoir, on a random streamflow in four different countries; namely, Canada, UK, Iran and Australia. The hydrological models of the two reservoirs are then optimised considering at least 30 years of their associated historical data to minimise the water deficit and flooding around their catchment area. The resulting optimal policies are simulated back to the model considering the climate change data from three different climate models. Finally RRV indices are calculated. RRV indices together are good measures in defining the performance of the reservoir system as Reliability defines the probability of the failure of the system, Resiliency defines the time needed for the system to go back to its satisfactory state once it entered the failure state, and Vulnerability is defined as the ”magnitude of the failure” of a system.
RRV indices can only describe the performance of the system due to physical changes caused by climate change. However, there is a need to assess a region’s ability to cope with the varying climate, referred to as adaptive capacity. Social Water Scarcity Index, SWSI, as a measure in calculating the ability of a region to respond to climate variability, is used in this study to further investigate the social impact of climate change. It is shown that comparing SWSI and Vulnerability of a system due to 16 physical exposure to climate change can provide a sound analysis on the effect of climate change in different regions. This created and enhanced methodology is applied to six different nations, the initial four as well as India and Nigeria. The results can be used as an initial means of prioritising the future policies, such as changing water allocation policies, changing the water supply patterns, changing or improving the facilities and infrastructures or even finding another source of water supply to the corresponding region. This unique approach to appraising vulnerability through SWSI measures and correlating it with Climatic effects has opened up new research in the field of climate change impacts.
Date of AwardMar 2019
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorPhilip Griffiths (Supervisor), Rodney Mc Dermott (Supervisor) & Alan Strong (Supervisor)


  • Climate Change
  • GCMs
  • Adaptive Capacity
  • Reservoir
  • RRV

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