PhD project – Modelling the Water Footprint of Hydroelectricity in Northern Regions

Website Université Laval

Department of Civil Engineering and Water Engineering

PhD project – Modelling the Water Footprint of Hydroelectricity in Northern Regions, using dedicated land surface models
Quebec City, Québec, Université Laval

Where You Will Study

Université Laval (UL) is the oldest French-language university in North America. UL is a comprehensive university boasting some 48,000 students—a quarter of them graduates—as well as 17 faculties, 60 departments and schools, and nearly 400 undergraduate and graduate programs in every field of knowledge. Université Laval offers strong graduate programs in northern research. Although graduate studies at Université Laval can be carried out in English, the candidate will be strongly encouraged to learn French.

What You Will Do

The student will be part of a large-scale effort devoted to quantifying the water footprint of hydroelectricity produced in northern regions. Water footprint is defined as the amount of water used to produce a good or a service. In the case of hydroelectricity, water is being ‘consumed’ through net evaporation resulting from the creation of the reservoir. This net loss of water is computed by subtracting evapotranspiration from ecosystems prior to their flooding to evaporation from the newly created reservoir.

The main objective of this PhD project is to compute the net evaporation of a large hydroelectric reservoir located in the Canadian boreal landscape, through the detailed modelling of the water and energy budgets of the reservoir and its nearby forest. It is envisioned that the reservoir behavior will be simulated using the FLake model, while the behavior of the forest prior to its permanent flooding will be simulated using the CLASS model. Alternative land surface models may also be considered. Other people involved in the project will gather the local data needed to support the modelling through a multi-year field campaign involving direct measurements of evaporation by means of multiple eddy covariance systems on the Romaine Hydroelectric Complex (~50°N, ~63°W), in the province of Quebec, Canada. The PhD student may occasionally be involved in the field campaign. This work is in close collaboration with Hydro-Québec, a state-owned company in charge of generating, transmitting and distributing electricity across the province of Quebec.

Figure 1 – Aerial view of the experimental site, the La Romaine 2 hydroelectric reservoir, QC, Canada. Photo: A. Tremblay.

What You Need

Academic background:

  • MSc degree in hydrometeorology or closely related discipline
  • Experience in physically-oriented hydrometeorologic modeling
  • Demonstrated record of research and publication
  • Ability to conduct graphical and statistical analyses
  • Strong skills in written and oral communication of research results

Technical/computational skills:

  • Strong competence in FORTRAN
  • Strong competence with data, program and file management in UNIX
  • Competence with analysis and scripting in MATLAB or similar analysis language
  • Demonstrated skill in working with large and heterogeneous datasets
  • Familiarity with super-computing environments (e.g., computing clusters)

When You Will Start

We are looking for a student willing to start in January 2018


Please send an email to Prof. François Anctil ( and Prof. Daniel Nadeau ( with your CV, a short motivation letter, examples of previous research (M.Sc. thesis or published papers), as well as the names of two referees.

To apply for this job email your details to