Skip to main content

Contribution of Snow and Glacier in Hydropower Potential and Its Response to Climate Change

  • Chapter
  • First Online:
Water Security in Asia

Part of the book series: Springer Water ((SPWA))

  • 958 Accesses


Hydropower development is considered as backbone of economic water security in context of Nepal. Most of the rivers originate from high mountains and are considered as snow fed rivers. Hence the impact of climate change on snow and glacier affects such rivers. In this study, snow and glacier are delineated from LANDSAT TM7 image by ERDAS IMAGINE and melt discharge is estimated by Energy Budget Method (EBM) along with the conceptual TANK model. Runoff generated from the watershed along with precipitation in non-glacerised area are given as inputs to HEC-HMS for simulating discharge of the whole basin. The significance of snow and glacier melt contribution at different downstream stations is assessed. Finally, future precipitation and temperature data obtained using AR5 scenario is used to assess the significance of climate change in river flow. From the analysis it is found that Koshi basin (1.62%) is covered by larger areas of glacier than that of the Mahakali basin (1.16%). The maximum contribution of snow and glacier in Koshi at Chatara and Mahakali at Chameliya are 12.02% and 17.35% respectively. While analysing the effect of climate change on the hydropower potential for storage project, it is observed that most of the sub-basins will have decreased volume of annual flow in 2030 A.D., but that will increase in 2050 A.D. There will be an increase in flow volume in Mahakali in the year 2030 A.D. and 2050 A.D. But for RoR project designed at Q40 flow volume will increase in both 2030 A.D. and 2050 A.D. in Koshi and Mahakali basin.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
USD 129.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Hardcover Book
USD 169.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions


  • Chaulagain NP (2006) Impact of climate change on water resources of Nepal, The physical and socio-economic dimensions. University of Flensburg, Flensburg, Germany

    Google Scholar 

  • Mool PK, Joshi SP, Bajracharya SR (2001) Inventory of Glaciers, Glacial Lakes and Glacial Lake Outburst Floods-Monitoring and Early Warning Systems in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan Region Nepal. ICIMOD, Kathmandu, Nepal

    Google Scholar 

  • IPCC (2001) Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  • Shrestha HM (1985) Water power potential. In: Majupuria TC (ed) Nepal: Nature’s Paradise: Insight into Diverse Facets of Topography, Flora and Ecology. White Lotus Co. Ltd., Bangkok, pp 4–8

    Google Scholar 

  • Shrestha M (2008) Runoff Modeling of Debris Covered Glacierized Watershed: A Case Study of Imja watershed. Water Resources Engineering Program IOE, Pulchowk

    Google Scholar 

  • Sing P, Sing VP (2001) Snow and Glacier Hydrology. Springer, Dordrecht

    Google Scholar 

  • WECS (2011) Water Resources of Nepal in the Context of Climate Change. WECS, Kathmandu

    Google Scholar 

  • WWF (2005) An Overview of Glaciers, Glacier Retreat and its Subsequent Impacts in Nepal. WWF Nepal Program, Kathmandu, India and China, p 68

    Google Scholar 

Download references


This work was supported by Nepal Academy of Science and Technology and Department of Civil Engineering, Institute of Engineering, Tribhuvan University, Nepal. The authors are grateful to DHM for providing data and information.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to N. M. Shakya .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2021 Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this chapter

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Chhetri, R.B., Shakya, N.M., Sitoula, N.R. (2021). Contribution of Snow and Glacier in Hydropower Potential and Its Response to Climate Change. In: Babel, M., Haarstrick, A., Ribbe, L., Shinde, V.R., Dichtl, N. (eds) Water Security in Asia. Springer Water. Springer, Cham.

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics