Natural Hazards

, Volume 97, Issue 2, pp 535–553 | Cite as

Application of 1D and 2D hydrodynamic modeling to study glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) and its impact on a hydropower station in Central Himalaya

  • Ashim SattarEmail author
  • Ajanta Goswami
  • Anil V. Kulkarni
Original Paper


The existence of numerous lakes in the higher reaches of the Himalaya makes it a potential natural hazard as it imposes a risk of glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF), which can cause great loss of life and infrastructure in the downstream regions. Hydrodynamic modeling of a natural earth-dam failure and hydraulic routing of the breach hydrograph allow us to characterize the flow behavior of a potential flood along a given flow channel. In the present study, the flow hydraulics of a potential GLOF generated due to the moraine failure of the Satopanth lake located in the Alaknanda basin is analyzed using one-dimensional and two-dimensional hydrodynamic computations. Field measurements and mapping were carried out at the lake site and along the valley using high-resolution DGPS points. The parameters of Manning’s roughness coefficient and terrain elevation were derived using satellite-based raster, the accuracy of which is verified using field data. The volume of the lake is calculated using area-based scaling method. Unsteady flood routing of the dam-break outflow hydrograph is performed along the flow channel to compute hydraulic parameters of peak discharge, water depth, flow velocity, inundation and stream power at a hydropower dam site located 28 km downstream of the lake. Assuming the potential GLOF event occurs contemporaneously with a 100-year return period flood, unsteady hydraulic routing of the combined flood discharge is performed to evaluate its impact on the hydropower dam. The potential GLOF resulted in a peak discharge of ~ 2600 m3s−1 at the dam site which arrived 38 min after the initiation of the moraine-failure event. The temporal characteristics of the flood wave analyzed using 2D unsteady simulations revealed maximum inundation depth and flow velocity of 7.12 m and 7.6 ms−1, respectively, at the dam site. Assuming that the control gates of the dam remain closed, water depth increases at a rate of 4.5 m per minute and overflows the dam approximately 4 min after the flood wave arrival.


Glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) 1D and 2D hydrodynamic modeling Mountain hazard Himalaya HEC-RAS Hydropower station 



The authors would like to acknowledge the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, India, for providing necessary infrastructure facilities. The authors also acknowledge the MHRD, MoES (IMPRINT) and DST INSPIRE fellowship for providing the necessary financial support. We are grateful to the JP group for providing relevant data to carry out the work. We thank USGS for the free satellite products employed in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NIIT UniversityRajasthanIndia
  2. 2.Indian Institute of Technology RoorkeeRoorkeeIndia
  3. 3.Indian Institute of ScienceBangaloreIndia

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