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

Website Université Laval

Department of Civil Engineering and Water Engineering

PhD project – Quantifying the Water Footprint of Hydroelectricity in Northern Regions
Field Observations of Evaporation from Boreal Reservoirs
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 characterize and analyze reservoir evaporation in a boreal landscape, through a detailed study of the reservoir energy budget. The impacts of synoptic systems and lake mixing dynamics on evaporation are also of interest. A multi-year field campaign involving direct measurements of evaporation by means of multiple eddy covariance systems will take place in the Romaine Hydroelectric Complex (~50°N, ~63°W), in the province of Quebec, Canada. The PhD student will be actively involved in the field campaign and the subsequent data analysis. The acquisition of this dataset will support the development of advanced operational hydrological and meteorological models through a complementary PhD project. 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 and to neighbouring provinces and states.

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 Engineering, Physics, Environmental Sciences or Geography
  • Experience in data analysis and field work
  • Strong skills in written and oral communication of research results in English

Technical/computational skills:

  • Competence with analysis and scripting in MATLAB or similar analysis language

When You Will Start

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


Please send an email to Prof. Daniel Nadeau ( and Prof. Alain Rousseau ( 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