The impact of suspended sediment load on reservoir siltation and energy production: A case study of the Indus River and its tributaries

Mohammad Amjad Sabir, Syed Shafiq-Ur-Rehman, Muhammad Umar, Amir Waseem*, Muhammad Farooq, Abdur Rehman Khan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Suspended sediments load estimation in the Indus River and its important tributaries in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan is presented to determine siltation in major reservoirs in the area and to create a strategy to minimize and/or control this risk for the enhancement of hydel energy production, irrigation, and other domestic purposes. The study area is part of an orogenically active region along the northwestern collision zone of Indian-Eurasian plates. During spring and summer suspended sediment load is highest, but least in winter. Sediment load of all rivers studied is directly proportional to the melting of glaciers and/or high rainfall during spring and summer. Glacier melt, rainfall, lithology of rocks (shale, slate, phyllite, mudstone, and siltstone), discharge, and other anthropogenic factors caused the high suspended load in rivers. Mostly the fine sediments settle during winter due to flow velocity of rivers reducing appreciably and residence time of water increasing in reservoirs. The high sediment influx deposition in major reservoirs like the Terbella and Warsak, etc. reduces their storage capacity as well as power generation capacity. So it is proposed that life span of these reservoirs can be lengthened by the construction of small check dams (silt control dams) on upstream, dam cleaning tactics, effective watershed management, extensive afforestation on the steep mountain slopes upstream of the lake, and the use of runoff rivers for electricity generation using steep gradient and fast flow velocity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-225
Number of pages7
JournalPolish Journal of Environmental Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Environment
  • Hydel power
  • Indus River
  • Siltation in dams
  • Soft rocks
  • Suspended load

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)


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