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Flood moderation by large reservoirs in the humid tropics of Western ghat region of Kerala, India

Keywords: Flood moderation, Humid tropics, Reservoir storage, Return period, Spill

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Abstract:

Kerala State located in the humid tropics receives an average rainfall of 2810 mm. On an average 85% of this rainfall is received during the two monsoons spread from June to November. Midland and lowland regions of several of the river basins of Kerala experience severe flood events during the monsoons. Idamalayar hydro-electric project (1987) in Periyar River basin envisages flood control apart from power generation. This paper analyzes the flood moderation by Idamalayar reservoir considering the storage regime (inflow and outflow) which is subjected to a strong inter annual variability. The role of Idamalayar reservoir in controlling the monsoon floods is analyzed using daily data (1987-2010). The results of analysis show that the flood moderation by the reservoir is 92% when water storage is less than 50%. The reduction is 87% when reservoir storage is between 50 to 90% and moderation reduces to 62 % when the reservoir storage is above 90%. Non-parametric trend analysis of fifty years of hydrologic data shows a reducing trend in inflow and storage during south-west monsoon which reduced spill and subsequent flood events during north-east monsoon.

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