Flows and sediment dynamics in the Ganga River under present and future climate scenarios

Sana Khan, Rajiv Sinha*, Paul Whitehead, Sananda Sarkar, Li Jin, Martyn N. Futter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Identification of factors controlling sediment dynamics under natural flow regimes can establish a baseline for quantifying effects of present day hydrological alteration and future climate change on sediment delivery and associated flooding. The process-based INCA-Sediment model was used to simulate Ganga River sediment transport under baseline conditions and to quantify possible future changes using three contrasting climate scenarios. Construction of barrages and canals has significantly altered natural flow regimes, with profound consequences for sediment transport. Projected increases in future monsoonal precipitation will lead to higher peak flows, increasing flood frequency and greater water availability. Increased groundwater recharge during monsoon periods and greater rates of evaporation due to increased temperature complicate projections of water availability in non-monsoon periods. Rainfall and land surface interaction in high-relief areas drive uncertainties in Upper Ganga sediment loads. However, higher monsoonal peak flows will increase erosion and sediment delivery in western and lower reaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)763-782
Number of pages20
JournalHydrological Sciences Journal
Issue number5
Early online date9 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • climate change
  • Ganga
  • process-based model
  • sediment management
  • sediment modelling
  • tropical rivers


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