Project: River Flow Forecasts for Power Production

Contact person Ole Wulff,, tel. 56 10 75 67

This collaborative initiative within the Climate Futures SFI, involving Småkraft, the Norwegian Computing Center (Norsk Regnesentral), and NORCE, focuses on predicting river flow in regions where Småkraft operates its power plants. Småkraft’s plants are typically situated along small rivers, where historical flow measurements are often scarce. This lack of data also poses challenges for hydrological model simulations, which require sufficient calibration data. In our project, we address this obstacle by calibrating a model using data from similar rivers in Norway, for which observations from the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) are available.

Our method demonstrates comparable accuracy in flow estimation to models calibrated with direct observations. Combining this approach with Met Norway’s innovative 21-day forecast, developed in collaboration with Climate Futures, allows us to provide river flow forecasts up to three weeks ahead. These forecasts aid Småkraft in anticipating future power production. Updated daily, the forecasts are accessible via an online dashboard with a user-friendly interface indicating favorable, unfavorable, or hazardous conditions. Continuous feedback from Småkraft operators will help refine the dashboard’s design for practical use. This climate service supports not only hydropower decision-making but also has the potential for early flood warnings in other regions with limited data availability. Further evaluation, especially during extreme events, will however be crucial for maximizing the system’s effectiveness in flood risk management.

Photo:  Polina Kuzovkova/Unsplash