The hydropower system of the Gatineau River (Quebec)

The Gatineau River, located in southwestern Quebec, rises in lakes north of the Baskatong Reservoir and flows south to join the Ottawa River. The main river channel is about 400 km and drains an area of 23,700 km2. The hydroelectric system consists of a cascade of four power stations and two large reservoirs operated by Hydro-Quebec.

Our work in the Gatineau first addressed the following question: when assessing the impact of climate change on hydropower generation, can we rely on hydrologic projections available in neighbouring river basins or should we always go through the computationally intensive procedure to derive local projections? This work is described in Pina et al., 2016.

More recently, within the framework of the FloodNet project, the focus was on the optimization of hydropower generation using short-term and mid-term hydrologic forecasts. One aspect was to evaluate the relationship between the quality of short-term ensemble streamflow forecasts and the energy produced by the hydropower system. To achieve this, a numerical experiment comprising multiple sets of hydrologic ensemble forecasts of different quality and a suite of reservoir optimization models have been developed for the Gatineau hydropower system. These ensemble forecasts are processed by the short-term reservoir operation model in a rolling-horizon mode over a planning period of six years. Each day, the short-term optimization model seeks to maximize the energy output over the 14-day forecast lead time considering the expected future value of the system derived from a mid-term optimization model. The relationship between hydropower generation and common statistical scores characterizing the ensemble forecasts indicates that although there is a link between the quality of the forecasts and the energy production it is not a one-to-one causal relationship. Our results also show that the diversity of hydrological models is beneficial to the production of energy, indicating that the diversity of model structures compensates the deficiencies of individuals models and adds value to the forecast. See Osina et al. (2023) for further details.


  1. Osina Torres M., Tilmant A., E. Valdez Medina, F. Anctil and M-H Ramos, 2023. Hydropower System Operation and the Quality of Short-term Hydrologic Ensemble Forecasts. Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management. DOI: 10.1061/JWRMD5.WRENG-5608
  2. Pina, J., A. Tilmant and F. Anctil, 2016. A horizontal approach to assess the impact of climate change on water resources systems. Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, doi : 10.1061/(ASCE)WR.1943- 5452.0000737