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88 Reservoir Sedimentation

Part 7. Erosion and Sedimentation

  1. George W Annandale

Published Online: 15 APR 2006

DOI: 10.1002/0470848944.hsa086

Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences

Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences

How to Cite

Annandale, G. W. 2006. Reservoir Sedimentation. Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences. 7:88.

Author Information

  1. Engineering and Hydrosystems Inc., Denver, CO, US

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2006


The storage loss due to reservoir sedimentation has been found to exceed the storage added worldwide by the mid 1990s. Recovery of this lost storage is estimated to range between US$ 10 billion and US$ 20 billion per year, not accounting for the growth in world population. Reservoir sedimentation does not only impact water supply and power supply reliability, but also has significant impacts on the environment, including downstream river degradation, and impacts on recreation, flood management, infrastructure, and the economy. The article illustrates how sediment is trapped in reservoirs, provides empirical techniques for calculating the volume of sediment that can be trapped by reservoirs, outlines sediment management techniques, which includes flushing, dredging, dry excavation, hydrosuction, and bypassing, and introduces the life-cycle management approach. This approach to reservoir sedimentation management is in contrast to the conventional design life approach, which is inappropriate for the design, construction, and management of dams and their reservoirs. Numerous references for further reading are listed.


  • sedimentation;
  • reservoir;
  • flushing;
  • dredging;
  • dry excavation;
  • reliability;
  • water supply;
  • life-cycle management;
  • density current;
  • sediment transport;
  • delta;
  • topset slope;
  • frontset slope;
  • sediment management;
  • storage loss;
  • environmental impact;
  • sediment trap efficiency;
  • design life;
  • hydrosuction removal system;
  • bypassing