Investigating the impact of dam construction on the eco-hydrological parameters of rivers (Jajrud River - downstream of Latian Dam)

Document Type : Research Article


1 Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Irrigation and Reclamation Engineering, University of Tehran

2 Associate Professor, Department of Irrigation and Reclamation Engineering, University of Tehran, Iran

3 Professor, Department of Irrigation and Reclamation Engineering, University of Tehran, Iran



Sustainable river management requires the construction and operation of dams that provide environmental flows to support downstream rivers ecosystem. Dam construction in Iran has significantly altered natural flow regimes and caused various environmental issues. The main aim of the present study was to evaluate the hydrologic and environmental alteration of the flow regime in the Jajrud River downstream of the Latian Dam. In this study, a set of long-term flow data (1947-2017) was analyze using the IHA and RVA models. The results show that the degree of alterations for the 24 flow variables is in the range of high to medium, denoting the high hydrological alterations of the Jajrud River. The values of mean, maximum and minimum monthly flows have decreased by 57, 94 and 21 percent, respectively. The overall change is 51%. Magnitude and duration of annual extreme flows have decreased, and in particular, the minimum flows and the base-flow indices have changed the most. The large flood events has been eliminated and small and frequent floods has been damped in the downstream river system. The results indicate that the goals of RVA have not been achieved in the post-construction period of the Latian Dam, and the environmental conditions of the river have been severely damaged. With reference to the eco-hydrological indices, the rehabilitation of the environment status of the Jajrud River requires the dam releases of minimum monthly flows in order of 2.3 to 33.8 m3/s, with an average annual discharge of 6.5 m3/s.


Main Subjects

[1]. Poff NL, Allan JD, Bain MB, Karr JR, Prestegaard KL, Richter BD, Sparks RE, Stromberg JC. The natural flow regime. BioScience. 1997; 47(11):769-84.
[2]. Huang J, Zhang Z, Feng Y, Hong H. Hydrologic response to climate change and human activities in a subtropical coastal watershed of southeast China. Regional Environmental Change. 2013; 13(6):1195-210.
[3]. Richter BD, Warner AT, Meyer JL, Lutz K. A collaborative and adaptive process for developing environmental flow recommendations. River research and applications. 2006; 22(3):297-318.
[4]. Poff NL, Olden JD, Merritt DM, Pepin DM. Homogenization of regional river dynamics by dams and global biodiversity implications. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2007; 4(14):5732-7.
[5]. Gao B, Yang D, Zhao T, Yang H. Changes in the eco-flow metrics of the Upper Yangtze River from 1961 to 2008. Journal of Hydrology. 2012; 448-449:30-38.
[6]. Flug M, Seitz HL, Scott JF. Multicriteria decision analysis applied to Glen Canyon Dam. Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management. 2000; 126(5):270-6.
[7]. Zhao Q, Liu S, Deng L, Dong S, Yang Z, Yang J. Landscape change and hydrologic alteration associated with dam construction. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation. 2012; 16:17-26.
[8]. Costigan KH, Daniels MD. Damming the prairie: human alteration of Great Plains river regimes. Journal of Hydrology. 2012; 444:90-9.
[9]. Losos E, Hayes J, Phillips A, Wilcove D, Alkire C. Taxpayer-subsidized resource extraction harms species. BioScience. 1995; 45(7):446-55.
[10]. Trush WJ, McBain SM, Leopold LB. Attributes of an alluvial river and their relation to water policy and management. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2000; 24;97(22):11858-63.
[11]. McManamay RA, Orth DJ, Dolloff CA. Revisiting the homogenization of dammed rivers in the southeastern US. Journal of Hydrology. 2012; 424:217-37.
[12]. Bunn SE, Arthington AH. Basic principles and ecological consequences of altered flow regimes for aquatic biodiversity. Environmental management. 2002; 30(4):492-507.
[13]. Moyle PB, Mount JF. Homogenous rivers, homogenous faunas. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2007; 104(14):5711-2.
[14]. Jansson R, Nilsson C, Renöfält B. Fragmentation of riparian floras in rivers with multiple dams. Ecology. 2000; 81(4):899-903.
[15]. Tockner K, Stanford JA. Riverine flood plains: present state and future trends. Environmental conservation. 2002; 29(3):308-30.
[16]. Olden JD, Poff NL. Redundancy and the choice of hydrologic indices for characterizing streamflow regimes. River research and applications. 2003; 19(2):101-21.
[17]. Richter B, Baumgartner J, Wigington R, Braun D. How much water does a river need?. Freshwater biology. 1997; 37(1):231-49.
[18]. Reichold L, Zechman EM, Brill ED, Holmes H. Simulation-optimization framework to support sustainable watershed development by mimicking the predevelopment flow regime. Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management. 2010; 136(3):366-75.
[19]. Song X, Zhuang Y, Wang X, Li E, Zhang Y, Lu X, Yang J, Liu X. Analysis of hydrologic regime changes caused by dams in China. Journal of Hydrologic Engineering. 2020; 25(4):05020003.
[20]. Singh RK, Jain MK. Reappraisal of hydrologic alterations in the Roanoke River basin using extended data and improved RVA method. International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology. 2021l; 18(2):417-40.
[21]. Sharma PJ, Patel PL, Jothiprakash V. Impact assessment of Hathnur reservoir on hydrological regimes of Tapi River, India. ISH Journal of Hydraulic Engineering. 2021; 27(sup1):433-45.
[22]. Sun G. Impacts of climate change and variability on water resources in the Southeast USA. InClimate of the southeast United States 2013 (pp. 210-236). Island Press, Washington, DC.
[23]. Sun G, Hallema D, Asbjornsen H. Ecohydrological processes and ecosystem services in the Anthropocene: a review. Ecological Processes. 2017; 6(1):1-9.
[24]. Dong Q, Fang D, Zuo J, Wang Y. Hydrological alteration of the upper Yangtze River and its possible links with large-scale climate indices. Hydrology Research. 2019; 50(4):1120-37.
[25]. Zuo QI, Liang SH. Effects of dams on river flow regime based on IHA/RVA. Proceedings of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences. 2015; 368:275-80.
[26]. Uday Kumar A, KV J. Assessment of flow regime alteration in the Krishna River basin. ISH Journal of Hydraulic Engineering. 2022; 28(2):212-8.
[27]. Guo W, Zhou H, Jiao X, Huang L, Wang H. Analysis of Alterations of the Hydrological Situation and Causes of River Runoff in the Min River, China. Water. 2022; 14(7):1093.
[28]. Ali R, Kuriqi A, Abubaker S, Kisi O. Hydrologic alteration at the upper and middle part of the Yangtze river, China: towards sustainable water resource management under increasing water exploitation. Sustainability. 2019; 11(19):5176.
[29]. Zheng X, Yang T, Cui T, Xu C, Zhou X, Li Z, Shi P, Qin Y. A revised range of variability approach considering the morphological alteration of hydrological indicators. Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment. 2021; 35(9):1783-803.
[30]. The Nature Conservancy. Indicators of Hydrologic Alteration Version 7.1 User's Manual. 2009:81pp. Available online at:
[31]. Song JX, Xu ZX, Liu CM, Li HE. Ecological and environmental instream flow requirements for the Wei River—the largest tributary of the Yellow River. International Journal of Hydrological Processes. 2007; 21(8):1066-73.
[32]. Moog O. Quantification of daily peak hydropower effects on aquatic fauna and management to minimize environmental impacts. Regulated Rivers: Research & Management. 1993; 8(1‐2):5-14.
[33]. Zincone LH, Rulifson RA. Instream flow and striped bass recruitment in the lower Roanoke River, North Carolina. Journal of Rivers. 1991; 2(2):125-37.
[34]. Bai T, Ma PP, Kan YB, Huang Q. Ecological risk assessment based on IHA-RVA in the lower Xiaolangdi reservoir under changed hydrological situation. InIOP conference series: earth and environmental science 2017; 100(1): 012214.
[35]. Zhang Z, Liu J, Huang J. Hydrologic impacts of cascade dams in a small headwater watershed under climate variability. Journal of Hydrology. 2020; 590:125426.
[36]. Magilligan FJ, Nislow KH. Changes in hydrologic regime by dams. Geomorphology. 2005; 71(1-2):61-78.
Volume 9, Issue 4
January 2023
Pages 797-814
  • Receive Date: 18 June 2022
  • Revise Date: 19 September 2022
  • Accept Date: 19 December 2022
  • First Publish Date: 22 December 2022
  • Publish Date: 22 December 2022