Adapting Sri Lanka to Climate Change: Approaches to Water Modelling in the Upper Mahaweli Catchment Area

  • M. P. GunawardenaEmail author
  • M. M. M. Najim


Water flow and water quality changes in surface water bodies due to climate change is a major problem worldwide, typically in river eco-systems. To address these issues, proper monitoring of river flow variations and water quality is necessary, but daily monitoring and data collection is greatly time consuming and costly. Therefore, a study was done with the objectives to calibrate and validate the HEC-HMS 3.5 and HEC-RAS 4.1.0 models to simulate flow variation and water quality variations respectively in Nillambe Oya, Sri Lanka. The development of such models are a significant requirement in the present scientific world to predict river flow and water quality variations as an adaptation for the climate change. The HEC-HMS 3.5 model was used to generate flow which is needed for HEC-RAS 4.1.0. Daily flow data for five years (from October 1991 to September 1996) were used to calibrate the HEC-HMS 3.5 model and another set of daily flow data for five years (from October 1994 to September 1999) were used to validate the model. HEC-RAS 4.1.0 model was calibrated using water quality data collected and analyzed in five days. The validity of the calibrated model was evaluated using water quality data collected in the other four days. The calibrated and validated HEC-HMS 3.5 model reliably predicted the flow in Nillambe Oya. The calibrated and validated HEC-RAS 4.1.0 model simulated Dissolved Oxygen (DO), Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) and Nitrate Nitrogen (NO3-N) splendidly. Orthophosphates was also predicted reliably by the model, but the simulation of organic Phosphorus was not that sensible.


Catchment Flow HEC-HMS HEC-RAS Modelling Water quality 



Our heartfelt thanks go to the Director General, Department of Meteorology and Director General of the Mahaweli Authority for providing us meteorological data and flow data, respectively.


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biotechnology, Faculty of ScienceMalabeSri Lanka
  2. 2.Department of Zoology and Environmental Management, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of KelaniyaKelaniyaSri Lanka

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