Effect of Sedimentation in Planning of Reservoirs 

Effect of Sedimentation in Planning of Reservoirs 

It is important to note that storage reservoirs built across rivers and streams loose their capacity on account of deposition of sediment. This deposition which takes place progressively in time reduces the active capacity of the reservoir to provide the outputs of water through passage of time. Accumulation of sediment at or near the dam may interfere with the future functioning of water intakes and hence affects decisions regarding location and height of various outlets. It may also result in greater inflow of into canals / water conveyance systems drawing water from the reservoir. Problems of rise in flood levels in the head reaches and unsightly deposition of sediment from recreation point of may also crop up in course of time. 

In this regard, the Bureau of Indian Standard code IS: 12182 - 1987 “Guidelines for determination of effects of sedimentation in planning and performance of reservoir” is an important document which discusses some of the aspects of sedimentation that have to be considered while planning reservoirs. Some of the important points from the code  are as follows: 

While planning a reservoir, the degree of seriousness and the effect of sedimentation at the proposed location has to be judged from studies, which normally combination consists of: 

  1. Performance  Assessment  (Simulation)  Studies  with  varying  rate  of sedimentation. 

  2. Likely effects of sedimentation at dam face. 

In special cases, where the effects of sedimentation on backwater levels are likely to be significant, backwater studies would be useful to understand the size of river water levels. Similarly, special studies to bring out delta formation region changes may be of interest. 

The steps to be followed for performance assessment studies with varying  rates of sedimentation are as follows: 

  1. Estimation of annual sediment yields into the reservoir or the average annual sediment yield and of trap efficiency expected. 

  2. Distribution of sediment within reservoir to obtain a sediment elevation and capacity curve at any appropriate time. 

  3. Simulation studies with varying rates of sedimentation. 

  4. Assessment of effect of sedimentation. 

In general, the performance assessment of reservoir projects has to be done for varying hydrologic inputs to meet varying demands. Although analytical probability based methods are available to some extent, simulation of the reservoir system is the standard method. The method is also known as the working tables or sequential routing. In this method, the water balance of the reservoir s and of other specific locations of water use and constraints in the systems are considered. All inflows to and outflows from the reservoirs are worked out to decide the changed storage during the period. In simulation studies, the inflows to be used may be either historical inflow series, adjusted for future up stream water use changes or an adjusted synthetically generated series.