Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources of the Largest Hydropower Plant Reservoir in Southeast Brazil

Carlos R. Mello, Nayara P. A. Vieira, Jorge A. Guzman, Marcelo R. Viola, Samuel Beskow, Lívia A. Alvarenga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Approximately 70% of all the electric energy produced in Brazil comes from hydropower plants. In this context, the Grande River Basin (GRB) stands out in Brazil. Some studies have been carried out to investigate the impacts of climate change in tropical regions to support water resources’ management and planning. This study aims to project the changes in the runoff that feed the Furnas Hydropower Plant (FHP) reservoir (GRB-Furnas basin), the largest and most important facility in Southeast Brazil. The lavras simulation of hydrology model (LASH) was used to project the impacts on runoff and hydrological droughts over the century in GRB-Furnas. The regional climate models (RCMs) Eta-HadGEM-ES, Eta-MIROC5, and Eta-CanESM2 forced the LASH model from 2007 to 2099, taking the representative concentration pathways (RCPs) 4.5 and 8.5. LASH simulated the runoff adequately for the baseline period (1961–2005) using the RCMs’ outputs. A noticeable reduction in precipitation was identified in the wet season, especially in the 2007–2040 period for RCP4.5 and in the 2071–2099 period for RCP8.5. As a result, a significant reduction in the runoff, mainly in the baseflow, and an increase in droughts’ severity were projected throughout the XXI Century, which may compromise the water security to the FHP reservoir.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1560
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 2021


  • Climate change
  • Hydrological impacts
  • Hydrological simulation
  • Regional climate models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Biochemistry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology


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