Reservoirs formed by dams serve one or more purposes, such as flood and drought control, water supply, hydropower, irrigation, inland navigation, fish and wild life conservation, and recreation. However, despite the continuing construction of new dams, the global storage capacity of reservoirs has been declining since the late 1990’s, as reservoirs fill with sediments. Without further actions, one quarter of all reservoirs will lose their storage to sedimentation in the next 25 to 50 years (according to World Bank).
Sedimentation reduces reservoir storage capacity and the benefits derived therefrom. In addition, the sediment imbalance throughout the water system caused by dams operated without sediment management facilities (e.g. bottom outlets, spillways, bypass tunnels) leads to significant infrastructure and environmental damages both upstream and downstream of the reservoir.
Reservoir sedimentation is a topic of high interest for IAHR, highlighted by the International Conference on Fluvial Hydraulics (River Flow), organized by IAHR since 2002, by many IAHR Europe and World Congresses, and by other events cosponsored by IAHR, such as the River, Coastal and Estuarine Morphodynamics Symposium (RCEM), and the International Symposium on River Sedimentation (ISRS). Reservoir sedimentation ranks as one of the most published topics in IAHR’s journals.
The increased interest in the subject of reservoir sedimentation and the need to share experiences and lessons learned led to the call for the creation of an IAHR research group focused on the subject. This group was formally launched in 2019 during the IAHR World Congress in Panama and is hosted by the “Hydraulic Structures” committee of IAHR.
The main objectives and missions of the working group include:
to bridge the gap between researchers and practitioners;
to develop and share practical options for managing sediment for long-term reservoir sustainability;
to promote collaborations on the reservoir sedimentation issues (processes, monitoring, numerical modelling);
to gather and share robust datasets from laboratory and field studies;
to disseminate results and conclusions from ongoing worldwide research projects on reservoir sedimentation;
to organize short (online/master) courses, seminars and workshops on reservoir sedimentation and sustainability;
to formulate an IAHR’s monograph on reservoir sedimentation and sustainability.
IAHR-Spain Water Day, Sedimentary Dynamics in Sustainable Management of Rivers and Coasts, February 26th 2020, Madrid, Spain.
Organizing the special session on reservoir sedimentation – Processes and management strategies, 6th IAHR Europe congress, Warsaw, Poland, 14-17 September 2020.
Contribution to the thematic framework of the 2021 IAHR world congress. You are welcome to contribute to Session “2g-Sedimentation of reservoir” (see Theme 2 Snow, river and sediment management).
ETH Zürich, Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology and Glaciology (VAW)
George W. Annandale, Inc.
United States of America
Università Della Campania 'Luigi Vanvitelli' (Italy)
China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
Institute for Modeling Hydraulic and Environmental Systems, University Stuttgart
Free Vision Paper
Reservoir sedimentation (Journal of Hydraulic Research)
Reservoir Sedimentation Handbook:
Extending the life of reservoirs:
Hydropower, Erosion and Sedimentation:
Handbook for Assessing and Managing Reservoir Sedimentation:
Reservoir Conservation Model RESCON 2:
Reservoir Sedimentation Management Webinar Series by the National Reservoir Sedimentation and Sustainability Team (NRSST) of the SEDHYD Sedimentation Committee in partnership with the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES):
Reservoir Sedimentation Management: Big deal! Why should we even care about it? by Dr. George Annandale. Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TopTVHVe_fY
Sediment Management Alternatives at Reservoirs, by Dr. Greg Morris. Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DB_Ons5OHmA
Sedimentation Management for Multi-Purpose Reservoirs: A Federal Perspective, by Dr. Tim Randle, & Dr. Paul Boyd. Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrBE_ngZgSM&t=3s
Permitting for Reservoir Sedimentation Management by Dr. Rollin Hotchkiss & David Olson. Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0HF6PSCFG0&feature=youtu.be
Sedimentation Monitoring, by Dr. Greg Morris. Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mzto0lCorKA&feature=youtu.be
Economics of Sustainable Reservoir Sediment Management, by Dr. Rollin Hotchkiss. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZZ1wbPu-Kw&feature=youtu.be
If you are interested in joining the Working Group on Reservoir Sedimentation or learning more about its activities, please contact Kamal El kadi Abderrezzak (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Eddy Langendoen (email@example.com)