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River and Reservoir System Modelling

River and Reservoir Systems Modelling

The group broadly undertakes studies in meteorology, applied hydrology, physico-chemical methods for water quality and hydraulics of surficial processes. This laboratory consists of three technical divisions viz., Hydrometeorology, Water Quality Analysis and Modelling and Surface Water Hydraulics. The group thus conducts studies in river and reservoir systems by field experimentations, mathematical modelling tools and site specific desk studies.


Hydrometeorology division was formed in 2012 by merging the erstwhile Physics (formed in 1947) and Statistics (formed in 1947) divisions to cater to the needs of the clients requiring specific studies to be carried out in applied hydrology, meteorology applied in hydrology and statistics. In the initial phase of its functioning, the Physics division had contributed to water resources sector through electrical analogy approach in offering solutions for PMF estimation, seepage, subsurface flows and flood routing. With the application of computers in hydrology and other fields, Physics division also inherited the mathematical modelling technique and adopted many a models and also developed some in the area of work. On the other hand, the statistics division was conceived to cater to hydrology as well as hydraulic modelling groups in data analysis of various projects adopting stochastic, probabilistic approaches and optimization techniques.

  • Estimation of PMF/SPF for water resources projects and flood forecasting
    • Narmada, Tapi, Mahanadi, Koldam
  • Area Drainage and Determination of Safe Grade Elevation Studies
    • Durgapur, Raghunathpur, Solapur, Hazira
  • Soil erosion and sediment yield for catchments and mine areas
    • Indravati, Kudremukh, Visakhapatnam
  • Water Resources Planning and Management
    • Krishna-Koyana, DSS(P)
  • Statistic and Probabilistic Modelling of hydrometeorological data
    • Stochastic methods (Time Series, Dependability, IDF)
    • Probabilistic methods (Extreme Value Analysis, Low Flow Analysis)
      • NPPs of NPCIL, Pamba-Periyar, Nagothane (RIL)
    • Optimisation Techniques (Chambal, Upper Bhima)
  • Water availability studies
    • Wellington, Lara, Goa(Mandovi)
  • Backwater studies for lift irrigation and power generation projects
    • Pranhita (Irrigation), Neilla Dam (Power)
  • Adoption of Hydrologic Models for River Basins
    • Rainfall-Runoff (Sarda-Varaha, Markandeya)
    • PMF/ SPF for water resources projects
    • Sediment Yield (Kondagedda at Visakhapatnam)
    • Evaporation Estimation (Malshej, Khandala)
  • Development of Models
    • Rainfall-Runoff (Narmada, Tapi)
    • Flood Forecasting Models (Godavari, Mahanadi, Koldam)
    • Irrigation Return Flows (HP I)
    • Water Balance Studies (Malshejghat PSS, Khandala Watershed)
  • Software and Models Used
    • Idrisi, SPSS, VTFIT, Hydogenom, HFA, HYMOS, SWDES, AutoCAD

Extreme Value Analysis (EVA) of Meteorological Parameters

EVA of meteorological parameters (rainfall, temperature, wind speed, evaporation, etc.) forms a part of the technical and engineering investigations for designing Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs), which need to be safeguarded against natural hazards. Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) proposes to setup NPPs at Banswara (Rajasthan), Bhimpur (Madhya Pradesh), Chutka (Madhya Pradesh), Kovvada (Andhra Pradesh), Mithi Virdi (Gujarat) and Gorakhpur (Haryana), CWPRS carried out EVA of meteorological parameters recorded at the meteorological stations, which are in the vicinity of the NPPs and the results obtained from the studies would be useful to NPCIL for arriving at design parameters for the proposed NPPs.

Estimation of Probable Maximum Flood

The estimation of PMF for Narmada at various locations i.e., Narmada Sagar, Maheshwar, Omkareshwar and Sardar Sarovar was carried out by this division under World Bank aide. The studies were carried out adopting lumped conceptual model OPSET (modified version of Stanford Watershed Model). Flood moderation in river channel was modelled adopting Muskingum method. The model was developed for the whole of Narmada catchment from its source to Sardar Sarovar. Evaluation of the model studies conducted was made by World Bank experts and PMF estimated by CWPRS was adopted for design.

Flood Frequency Analysis

Estimation of maximum flood discharge (MFD) with a specified return period is crucial for the design of hydraulic structures. MFD can be effectively determined by fitting of probability distributions to the series of recorded annual maximum discharge (AMD) data. An AMD is the highest instantaneous discharge value at a definite cross-section of a natural stream throughout an entire hydrologic year (water year). CWPRS carried out flood estimation studies for rivers Krishna, Narmada, Godavari, Tapi, etc.

The FFA technique was also adopted by CWPRS to estimate the extreme max/ min values of other meteorological parameters such as Rainfall, windspeed, temperatures, etc. Some of the projects are NPPs of NPCIL wherein the design parameters were derived and river valley projects wherein the rainfall was used to compute design flood.

Low-Flow Frequency Analysis

Evaluation of low-flow characteristics of a river is fundamental to the assessment of water resources for many direct and indirect uses such as municipal, irrigation, hydropower, public water supply, etc. which is also carried out by flood frequency analysis approach involving fitting of distribution to the series of annual minimum average flows derived from the recorded discharge data. CWPRS carried out the low-flow studies for Narmada, Godavari, Pamba and Periyar river basins. Results obtained from the study were taken as indicators by the stakeholders for making decisions on varied water resources management issues in the reaches of river basins. It is thus a tool in planning long term water resources.

Intensity-Duration-Frequency Analysis

Rainfall intensities of various frequencies and durations are the important parameter for the design of hydraulic structures, as also for rainfall-runoff models. The intensity-duration-frequency (IDF) relationship can be developed through rainfall frequency analysis (RFA) that is used to estimate rainfall depth at a point for a specified exceedance probability and duration. RFA for a site is generally based on point analyses. CWPRS developed IDF curves for a number of projects which include, Kanyakumari, Kalingapatnam, Hissar, Jabalpur, Mandla, Shivpuri and Visakhapatnam regions. The IDF relationships were developed using rainfall estimates obtained from probability distributions. These are useful for decision makers to estimate the rainfall intensity for any specific return period in a short time and hence are useful in planning and designing of any water resources projects.

Determination Safe Grade Elevation and Area Drainage Studies

Safe Grade Elevation (SGE) for a project area is the elevation, which is above the possible inundation level of the area. SGE is determined based on the area drainage studies of the region of proposed project area (Maximum Flood Levels) and project layout plan. During the study on SGE are safety of the project and cost (initial and recurring) are considered for optimization. The finalisation of SGE also takes into account the storm water drainage network for project for safe evacuation of flood water from plant area. <o:p>&nbsp; Solapur, Kudagi of NTPC; Hazira and Kehalgaon of RIL , Durgapur, Raghunathpur of WAPCOS and other organizations such as TPCL, TPCIL, REL, etc are a few typical projects to mention

Estimation of Irrigation Return Flows

A mathematical model has developed for estimation of Irrigation Return Flow (IRF) from command area. The study was carried out as a collaborative research between CWPRS and DIRD, GoM under hydrology project (HP-I). A process based and semi-distributed model “RETRNFLO” was developed for an area of 1339 ha in Kukudi Left Bank Canal Command near village Nighoj, Ahmednagar. The IRF estimated by model from commanad area over 11 nos. Irrigation rotation basis for rabi and kharif. IRF model results were in the order of 12-14% of irrigation water supply. The study is useful in improving the irrigation efficiencies and planning better water distribution. The model was appreciated by World Bank experts and Mantralaya, Mumbai.

Backwater studies – Pranahita Chevella Project

Afflux developed by presence of any structure (weir, barrage, and dam) in a water course is widely known as backwater effect and has both useful (storage) and harmful impacts (flooding).

Backwater has long been vital concern to man and thus a subject to understand, construct and improve the transport of water via waterways such as canals, river, and reservoirs. CWPRS carried out the backwater studies for Pranahita-Chevella Project for state Government of Telangana. Based on the requirement of the project, 1-D hydraulic flood routing model HEC-RAS under steady state conditions was adopted to study the backwater effect of barrage for different flood events i.e. (i) observed flood, (ii) conservative flood and (iii) combined flood discharges and barrage levels. As required by the project authorities, an assessment of lowering of barrage height on the flood levels and resulting change in storage capacity of project was studied.

Soil erosion-sediment yield studies – Visakhapatnam

Soil erosion and sediment yield from catchments is an important aspect in water resources as it affects the storage (reservoir), water quality, and rise in bed levels of river sections leading to flooding. CWPRS conducted the studies on Soil erosion and Sediment yield estimation for Kondagedda river near Visakhapatnam. Kondagedda is a un-gauged catchment hence estimation of water and sediment discharges were required for the downstream channelization process along airport. For this, catchment physiographic factors were derived from toposheets and remotely sensed data, etc. Using these, the soil erosion and sediment yield was estimated with USLE, Garde’s method, and Musgrave equation. The sediment yield for Kondagedda watershed upto national highway NH5 crossing was estimated as 82.16 t/ha/yr. In addition the above results were also evaluated with physically based KINEROS2 model, which estimated sediment yield as 89.15 t/ha/yr.

Development of Flood Forecasting Model for Koldam HEP, HP

NTPC Ltd. has proposal to build and operate Koldam upstream of Bhakra dam for hydro-electric power generation. CWPRS developed a flood forecasting model for Satluj river system from Pandoa to Chhaba river gauge to Koldam reservoir. The model was developed with three main components, viz., (i) rainfall-runoff for ungauged catchments adding to Satluj or Koldam reservoir (using Clark’s method), (ii) flood routing for reach Pandoa to Chhaba adopting Muskingum method and (iii) reservoir routing adopting mass balance. The model operates in two modes i.e., (i) test mode; for testing the model with past data and (ii) forecast mode; to issue warnings during forecast operations. Model has provision to provide the decision makers to alter the reservoir levels to control the downstream releases during forecast operations.

Optimization of Hydrometeorological Network for Upper Bhima Basin

Optimization of hydrometeorological network of Upper Bhima basin up to Ujjani reservoir was carried out by CWPRS jointly with Government of Maharashtra; under Hydrology Project (Phase II). This was carried out adopting a spatial hydrologic regression under generalized least squares (GLS) framework to optimize the existing streamgauge and raingauge network of the basin. The study suggested the hydrometric network of 12 GD stations with a network density of 1226 km2 per station and raingauge network consists of 35 rain gauge stations with network density of 450 km2 per station. The optimum network provides support for water resources planning for multi-objectives.


Chemistry Division formed in 1947 has been renamed as Water Quality Analysis and Modelling (WQAM) division in 2012, by expanding the scope of its studies to analyze the water quality of river and reservoir systems by mathematical modelling. The three major activities of WQAM division are (1) Field investigations, sample collection, (2) Laboratory analysis of water, sediment and cement samples and (3) Water Quality Modelling of rivers and reservoirs. <o:p>

Water quality studies are conducted for various rivers and reservoirs for assessing their suitability for various uses e.g. irrigation, hydropower generation, concreting etc. Mathematical model, MIKE21 with HD and WQ modules, are used for estimating carrying capacity of a water body and for futuristic pollution scenarios under different conditions.

Field investigations

Field investigations carried out for rivers and reservoirs like Sardar Sarovar, Panshet, Khadakwasla, Ujjani, Bhadra etc. Apart from water, sediment and biological sample collection, parameters analysed in situ are Secchi depth, Temperature, Conductivity pH.

Laboratory Analysis

Samples analysed for projects include Sardar Sarovar, Panshet, Khadakwasla, Bommanhalli, Ujjani, Tungabhadra and Dandeli Reservoirs; Ennore and Mahim Creek; Trombay; Godavari, Kalinadi, Krishna and Tapi Rivers etc. Some of the instruments used in the laboratory are:

Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer, Flame Photometer, UV-Visible Spectrophotometer, BOD Incubator, COD Digester, Water Quality Monitor, Compound Microscope, Stereozoom microscope

Water quality modelling

Modelling studies for prediction of futuristic scenario, estimation of pollution-carrying capacity of reservoir/river, identification of best suitable location for point source of pollution, etc are done. The data regarding cross sections/bathymetry of study region, hydrology, hydraulics, meteorological data are required for modelling studies. Water quality data at various locations, if not available, can be collected by CWPRS team. Mathematical studies for Assessment of water quality of Sardar Sarovar reservoir (SSNNL) Gujarat- Part II (Simulation studies)


A necessity was realized to carry out studies related to movement of flood wave along the system of river and reservoir. The need was emphasized by the expert from United Nations and World Bank during the conduct of studies carried out for deriving design flood discharge for Sardar Sarovar Project across river Narmada in the decade of 1980. In view of this, Surface Water Hydraulics (SWH) division was carved out in the year 1992 to cater the needs of projects in the field of Hydraulics; with special reference to unsteady situation related to water conveyance and storage system through rivers and reservoirs. In addition, the division also contributed in the field of dam break studies, River Morphology Studies and River Front Development. The major areas of work handled by this division are :

  • Determination of Safe Grade Elevation against flooding & Development of Storm Water Drainage System for Power Plants and other Projects
  • Dam Break Flood Analysis
  • Nala Diversion studies
  • Application of Satellite data for Reservoir Sedimentation studies and morphological studies for delineation of bank line changes for identification of erosion / accretion areas
  • Hydrological modelling of river basins for
    • estimation of PMF
    • study of river basin response to precipitation input
    • water availability assessment using hydro meteorological approach
  • Development of hydrological flood routing and real time flood-forecasting models
  • Extreme value analysis of hydro meteorological parameters <o:p>

The SWH division has left no stone unturned to provide hydraulically sound, economically viable solution to various problems associated with project of national and international importance on water resources engineering and system design. SWH Division has thus served a vast clientele that include Water Resources/Irrigation Departments of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. Services are also provided to State/Central Government undertakings viz. DVC, Kolkata; NTPC, Noida; NPCIL, Mumbai; ONGC, Gujarat; CIDCO, Mumbai; NHPC, Faridabad; NELCAST, Hyderabad and WAPCOS, a commercial window of Ministry of Water Resources RD &GR, New Delhi. Services to Private Sector are also rendered to multi facet units of M/s Reliance, Kakinada and other units of BESCL, New Delhi.

Safe Grade Elevation against Flooding

  • Analysis of rainfall.

  • Development of 1-D mathematical model in HEC- RAS for study reach of river/nala.

  • Derive water surface profile for study reach of river/nala.

  • Estimate the Safe Grade Elevation.

Area Drainage Studies

  • Analysis of rainfall data.

  • Estimation of design discharge for storm water drains.

  • Design storm water drains

  • Development of storm water drainage network.

Dam Break Analysis

  • Dam break analysis using Flood Wave Model.

  • Routing of Dam Break Flood.

  • Estimation of water levels at important points due to dam break.

Diversion of Nala/River

  • Analysis of rainfall data.

  • Estimation of design discharge for diversion channel.

  • Design of diversion channel.

  • Development of 1-D mathematical model in HEC- RAS for pre and post scenario.

  • Ensure the flow conditions on upstream and downstream of diversion channel.

Application of Satellite data for Reservoir Sedimentation

  • Collection of cloud free satellite imageries at required water levels between FRL and MDDL.

  • Geo-referencing of raw satellite imageries by considering Survey of India (SOI) Toposheet as basemap.

  • Modelling of reservoir to delineate water spread area at different elevations using GIS based softwares.

  • Estimation of rate of sediment deposition in the reservoir.


Water Availability Study

  • Analysis of rainfall data

  • Conversion of rainfall to runoff

  • Estimation of dependability

Models / Software’s used

HEC-RAS (4.1) & CHARIMA : Simulation of 1 D Hydrodynamic Flow for Estimation of hydraulic parameters like water level and velocity

DAMBRK / FLDWAV : Estimation of outflow hydrograph under dam break scenario with specified breach sizes

ARCGIS / ERDAS : Image processing of satellite imagery and digitization of maps

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