The purpose of this study is to evaluate the impacts of the upstream Soyanggang and Chungju multi-purpose dams on the frequency of downstream floods in the Han River basin, South Korea. A continuous hydrological model, SWAT (Soil and Water Assessment Tool), was used to individually simulate regulated and unregulated daily streamflows entering the Paldang Dam, which is located at the outlet of the basin of interest. The simulation of the regulated flows by the Soyanggang and Chungju dams was calibrated with observed inflow data to the Paldang Dam. The estimated daily flood peaks were used for a frequency analysis, using the extreme Type-I distribution, for which the parameters were estimated via the L-moment method. This novel approach was applied to the study area to assess the effects of the dams on downstream floods. From the results, the two upstream dams were found to be able to reduce downstream floods by approximately 31% compared to naturally occurring floods without dam regulation. Furthermore, an approach to estimate the flood frequency based on the hourly extreme peak flow data, obtained by combining SWAT simulation and Sangal’s method, was proposed and then verified by comparison with the observation-based results. The increased percentage of floods estimated with hourly simulated data for the three scenarios of dam regulation ranged from 16.1% to 44.1%. The reduced percentages were a little higher than those for the daily-based flood frequency estimates. The developed approach allowed for better understanding of flood frequency, as influenced by dam regulation on a relatively large watershed scale.
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