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International Journal of Civil & Environmental Engineering IJCEE-IJENS Vol: 12 No: 03

Dam Construction Impacts on Stream Flow and

Nutrient Transport in Kase River Basin
Cindy SUPIT1, 2 and Koichiro OHGUSHI1
1Department of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Saga University.
1 Honjo, Saga 840-8502, Japan; e-mail: and
2Department of Civil Engineering,Sam Ratulangi University,Kampus Unsrat Bahu,Manado 95111,Indonesia

Abstract Kase River Basin in Saga Prefecture is one of the

most important rice production bases in Kyushu Island, Japan. A
new multi-purpose Kase River Dam has been constructed just
downstream of another old agricultural dam, Hokuzan dam in
Saga Prefecture, Japan. Forest and agricultural areas have been
changed from artificial coniferous forest and rice field to water
area. This study is to evaluate the future potential impacts of dam
construction on stream nutrient transport for a 197.735 km2
mountains dam watershed in Kase River basin using SWAT (Soil
and Water Assessment Tool) model. The SWAT model was
calibrated and validated using 2 years (2008-2009) daily stream
flow data with the coefficient correlation = 0.86 and Nash-Sutcliffe
index = 0.84. To describe effects on hydrological process from
operating dams, various scenarios were examined, using the
calibrated model. The set of scenarios tested the impact of the
existence or nonexistence of dam reservoirs in the watersheds. The
result of this study indicates that excessive dams in Kase River
basin has changed dramatically the stream flow regimes by a
decrease of monthly stream flow rates in the watershed up to
29.3% from the disappeared dam scenario. Impoundments have
less efficient on stream nutrient transport, based on results at
Furuyu point. The future change of monthly stream and nutrient
transport gave us the clue to be suggested for future adjustment of
dam operation rule to optimize water resources and pollution
control in Kase River basin.

exchange of water in dam, and due to water impounding by the

dam so water quality in downstream might be changed (Horne
et al. 2004; Betnarek et al. 2001; Berkamp, et al. 2008). .
To study the impact of water projects such as dam
construction on environmental water quality and quantity is
important for river basin management and environmental
protection, such as impact of dam to hydrological process (
Nislow et al. 2002; Hayes et al. 1998) and water quality
( Somura et al. 2009),
The objective of this study is to illustrate the impact of dam
construction on stream flow and nutrient loading from Kase
River Basin. These estimates give a potential strategy to
manage future downstream nutrient and water resources in
Kase River basin.

Index Terms Dam construction, Stream flow, Nutrient

transport, Kase River Basin

Japan is the first nation in the Asian Monsoon zone to
achieve modern industrialization and it did this in the relatively
short period of about 100 years, beginning in the late nineteenth
century. Dams in Japan supported social and economic
development that preceded modernization and have been
viewed as symbols of modernization and of social vitality that
utilizes nature. However since the 1980s, dam projects have
concerned criticism from the community, because their
substantial impacts on the social order and the natural
environment are becoming obvious(JCOLD, 2009).
There are some impacts such as impacts on water quality and
quantity; alteration of runoff and evaporation processes, risk of
increasing diffuse inputs to rivers due to increase in erosion and
landslides, higher potential of eutrophication because of limited
Fig. 1. Watershed delineation in the study area

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International Journal of Civil & Environmental Engineering IJCEE-IJENS Vol: 12 No: 03

A. Methods
SWAT is a river basin or watershed, scale model developed
to predict the impact of land management practices on water,
sediment, and agriculture chemical yields in large, complex
watersheds with varying soil, land use, and management
conditions over long periods of time (Arnold et.all 1998).
ArcSWAT 2009, a third-party software extension to ArcGIS, is
used as an interface between ArcGIS and the SWAT model.
Spatial data (DEM, soil and land use) is used in the
preprocessing phase and fed into the SWAT model through the
interface. Climate, precipitation, stream flow and water quality
data were sourced and prepared according to SWAT input
This model was chosen because it is
computationally efficient and enables to study long impact
(Neitsch, 2002).
The hydrologic cycle of the SWAT model is based on the
water balance equation, which considers the unsaturated zone
and shallow aquifer above the impermeable layer as a unit.
The SWAT water balance equation is

B. Data source
Topographic data
ArcSWAT 2009 uses DEM data to automatically delineate
the watershed into several hydrological connected sub
watersheds. In this paper, DEM data with resolution of 50
meter were used. The DEM was taken from Nippon-III of
digital map; the watershed was then divided into 23 sub
watersheds in the SWAT model. Fig.1 and Fig.2 show
watershed delineation in the study area and DEM data which
used for this study respectively.

SWt = SW0 + ( Rday Qsurf Ea wseep Qgw ) (1)

i =1

where SWt is the final soil water content, SW0 is the initial
soil water content, t is the time (days), Rday is the amount of
precipitation on day i, Qsurf is the amount of surface runoff on
day i, Ea is the amount of evapotranspiration on day i, wseep is
the amount of percolation and bypass flow exiting the soil
profile bottom on day i, and Qgw is the amount of return flow
on day i.
The SWAT model uses the SCS curve number procedure to
calculate the runoff volume under different soil types and land
uses. The SCS curve number equation is

Qsurf =

( Rday I a ) 2
( Rday I a + S )


Fig. 2. DEM data for the study area

where Qsurf is the accumulated runoff or rainfall excess (mm);

Rday is the rainfall depth for the day (mm); Ia is the initial
abstractions, which includes surface storage, interception, and
infiltration prior to runoff (mm); and S is the retention
parameter (mm). The retention parameter varies spatially due to
changes in soil, land use, management, and slope and
temporally due to changes in soil water content. The retention
parameter is defined as

S =

254 (3)

Land use data

Kase River Basin has wide variety of land use while MLIT
(Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation) Japan due
to National Comprehensive Water Resources Plans was added
a new multi-purpose dam in this area in order to supply water
needed especially for agriculture and water supply in Saga
Prefecture. Land use data of 2007 were applied and 13 land use
types in the study area were reclassified using SWAT land use
classes. The land use classes were converted from original land
use classes to SWAT classes and defined using a look up table.
Table 1 shows the land uses conversion from original land uses
classes to SWAT classes.

where CN is the curve number for the day.

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International Journal of Civil & Environmental Engineering IJCEE-IJENS Vol: 12 No: 03

Observatory were applied in order to calculate the potential

evapotranspiration (PET) using Penman-Monteith`s method.


Original land use

Park green space
River, Lake, Pond
Road and Railway
Factory, power
Rice field
Natural coniferous
coniferous forest
Cut over land
Collapse groundr

Corresponding SWAT classes






Forest evergreen


Forest decidduous


Summer pasture
Wetlands non forested


Hydrological data
Daily observed discharge data were taken by MLIT
(2007-2008) for the analysis. Stream flow rate were processed
from hourly to daily average value and will processed for
calibrating the SWAT model. Prior to calibration, 4 most
sensitive parameters: CN2, GWQMN, Alpha_BF, and
Sol_AWC, were selected and adjusted manually based on
previous SWAT research in Japan mountains area. Available
data from January to December, 2008 were used for the
calibration and the daily stream flows in 2009 at the Furuyu
station located just in the downstream of the new dam were
applied for validation. Fig.4 shows comparison on simulated
and observed discharge with the coefficient correlation = 0.86
and Nash-Sutcliffe index = 0.84.

Soil data
Detailed soil map was clipped from National Land Survey
Division, Land and Water Bureau of MLIT`s website and was
used as the GIS input data for the model simulation. Land use
and soil data in WGS 1984 UTM Zone 52N projected were
loaded into the ArcSWAT 2009 to determine the area and
hydrologic parameters of each land-soil category simulated
within each sub basin.

Fig. 4. Comparison on simulated and observed discharge

in Furuyu outlet during 2008-2009

Dam data
According on the available data and the necessary inputs of
the SWAT, the following characteristic indicators of the dam
were set up: the surface area of reservoir when filled to the
emergency spillway, surface area of reservoir when filled to the
principal spillway, volume of water held in reservoir when
filled to the emergency spillway, and volume of water held in
the reservoir when filled to the principal spillway..

Fig. 3. Spatial data soil map

Weather data
SWAT required climate data to provide the moisture and
energy inputs that control the water balance and determine the
relative importance of the different component of the
hydrology cycle. Hourly observed weather data (temperature,
humidity, solar radiation) from Saga Meteorological

Water quality data

Data on the nutrient parameters before and after dam
impoundment were observed by MLIT. In this study, the data
from November 2008-March 2011 are used. The period of
water quality data before impoundment from November 2008
to October 2010 represent the time when the water had not exist
in the reservoir yet, and due to available data, Furuyu point
represents the point sources to downstream riverine nutrient.

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International Journal of Civil & Environmental Engineering IJCEE-IJENS Vol: 12 No: 03


Fig. 6. TN concentration in Furuyu outlet (2008-2011)

Q (m3/s)


Hokuzan and
Kase dam

Hokuzan dam

No dam

Fig. 5. Change in peak stream flow with respect to the scenarios

comparison between downstream area and all watersheds

The developed model was tried to run using model input and
physical parameters as described above. Unsurprisingly, the
existence of dams resulted in major reductions in stream flow
rate in the watershed. The outcome also showed that the
presence of Hokuzan dam and Kase River dam in the watershed
caused larger reductions in stream flow than the only Hokuzan
dam did.
These dams seem to result in decrease of monthly discharge
by up to 29.3% from the disappeared dam scenario. The
decrease of stream discharge from this adjustment may be
recognized to the verity that those dams divert water to off
stream uses such as irrigation and urban uses (multi-purpose),
especially out of basin diversions, will reduce the total
downstream flow (Collier et al, 1995). Excessive dams and
floodgate operations have change dramatically the flow
regimes and shift peaking time (J. Xia, et al. 2005).

Fig. 7. TP concentration in Furuyu outlet (2008-2011)

These effects on decrease of stream flow by increased

number of dams in the watershed are mainly strong in the
wet period from June to July, because precipitation is plentiful
in the wet period and temperatures are high enough to support
high evaporation. Therefore, as shown in Table 2, the stream
flow rates decreased significantly for the period. Decreases in
discharge also occur in the periods after the wet period. The
quite lower decrease in discharge in the AugustSeptember
period is resulting from hot temperatures in those months.
From Fig. 5, we have found moderately large differences in
watershed peak flow between the conditions while changes
of peak flow in Kanjimbashi and Furuyu are large among the
scenarios. A large decrease of Furuyu and Kanjimbashi peak
flow indicate that the effect of dam construction is seen
significantly in the lowering peak flow at downstream of
watershed. Peak flow rates in all watershed decreased by
12.31% when the Hokuzam dam and Kase River dam were
added from the current condition. In Furuyu, a change of annual

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International Journal of Civil & Environmental Engineering IJCEE-IJENS Vol: 12 No: 03

peak flow rate decreased by 23.45% due to scenario 2.
Dams impoundments have less efficient effect on
downstream nutrient transport (Fig.6 and Fig.7). The presence
of the new Kase dam results in decreasing of total nitrogen in
November, January and March at Furuyu point, just
downstream after the Kase River dam. The Furuyu`s TN
showed a decrease tendency up to 7.85%, but the TP showed
average 18.45% decrease in November, February, March, and
29.2 % increase in December and January.

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Excessive dams in Kase River basin has changed
dramatically the stream flow regimes The impoundment of the
new Kase dam has less efficient in decreasing of total nitrogen
and total phosphorus at downstream. The SWAT model
successfully passed the scenarios exercises considering stream
flow rates output. Model setup and water quality calibration
works are already in progress as a next step for analysis.
Some issues still need to be addressed for better assessment
of dam impacts. Coupling the SWAT model and a
hydrodynamics model inside the reservoir should be done in
the next step.
The authors would like to acknowledge MLIT for data and
their cooperation in the project, SWAT community for model
setting discussions and Indonesian government for supporting
the study.

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