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Assessment of environmental flows using hydrological methods for Krishna River, India

  • Uday Kumar, A. (Department of Civil Engineering, National Institute of Technology) ;
  • Jayakumar, K.V. (Department of Civil Engineering, National Institute of Technology)
  • Received : 2018.04.14
  • Accepted : 2018.12.18
  • Published : 2018.09.25

Abstract

Krishna River is significantly affected due to Srisailam dam from past 30 years. The impact of this hydraulic structure drastically reduced the minimum flow regime on the downstream, which made the river nearing to decaying stage. In the present paper, Environmental Flow called minimum flow values released for the dam are estimated with the help of three hydrological methods viz., Range of variability Approach (RVA), Desktop Reserve Model (DRM), and Global Environmental Flow Calculator (GEFC). DRM method suggested considering the intermediate values obtained from among the three methods to preserve the ecosystem on the downstream of the river, which amounts to an average annual allocation of 9378 Million Cubic Meter (MCM) which is equal to 23.11% of mean annual flow (MAF). In this regard GEFC and RVA methods accounted for 22% and 31.04% of MAF respectively. The results indicate that current reservoir operation policy is causing a severe hydrological alteration in the high flow season especially in the month of July. The study concluded that in the case of non-availability of environmental information, hydrological indicators can be used to provide the basic assessment of environmental flow requirements. It is inferred from the results obtained from the study, that the new reservoir operations can fulfil human water needs without disturbing Environmental Flow Requirements.

Keywords

environmental flow;hydrological alteration;reservoir operations;ecosystem

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