Impacts of hydroelectricity production on aquatic ecosystems: Development of key environmental indicators for Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach
In boreal and temperate regions, dams are mainly constructed to provide ecosystem services such as hydroelectricity production. River impoundment and the alteration of natural hydrological regimes are suggested to be major disturbances to aquatic ecosystems. To meet long-term environmental objectives for sustainable development, Hydro-Quebec recently adopted the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach. LCA is an ISO standardized approach assessing the potential environmental impacts of product, services and processes throughout its entire life cycle. However, the LCA approach presently lacks strong empirical evidence of the effect of hydroelectricity production on aquatic ecosystems. which increase uncertainty in a decision making process and leaves hydroelectricity production under risk of criticism regarding this known gap in LCA and water footprint assessment. The proposed project aims at developing scientifically-sound environmental indicators to quantify the impact of hydroelectricity production on aquatic ecosystems and to integrate them into the LCA approach.