University of Oulu

Patro, E. R., De Michele, C., Granata, G., & Biagini, C. (2022). Assessment of current reservoir sedimentation rate and storage capacity loss: An Italian overview. Journal of Environmental Management, 320, 115826.

Assessment of current reservoir sedimentation rate and storage capacity loss : an Italian overview

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Author: Patro, Epari Ritesh1,2; De Michele, Carlo1; Granata, Gianluca1;
Organizations: 1Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, 20133, Milan, Italy
2Water, Energy and Environmental Engineering, University of Oulu, 90014, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 7.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-09-07


Sedimentation has a prominent impact on the functionality and lifetime of reservoirs and is a growing concern for stakeholders. Various parameters influence sedimentation caused by soil erosion. Here we have examined fifty Italian reservoirs to determine sedimentation rates and storage capacity loss. The reservoirs studied have an average age of 78 years as of 2021, with the highest loss of capacity observed, equal to 100%, for Ceppo Morelli. For the fifty Italian catchments covering north, south, central and islands of Italy, we found the mean annual sediment yield varying between 17–4000 m³/km². year. Six of fifty reservoirs studied (Quarto, Colombara, Ceppo Morelli, Fusino, Vodo and Valle di Cadore) are already in a very critical situation in terms of storage capacity loss. Out of the fifty reservoirs, half of them will reach their half-life year by 2050. For example, for the Fusino reservoir located in northern Italy, we observed a loss of 90% of the storage volume as of 2020 with respect to its operation year 1974, compared to 6% in 2015 as available in literature. Modelling the sediment delivery ratio (SDR) is an open question, due to the lack of adequate data and uncertainties about the variability in hydrological, geomorphological, climate and landcover parameters. Here, we addressed the issue with a simplified multiple regression approach based on sediment delivery ratio values retrieved by the RUSLE model. We found different multi regressions for reservoirs belonging to the Alpine and Apennine regions. This analysis offers a starting point for the management and prioritization of adaptation and remediation policies necessary to address reservoir sedimentation.

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Series: Journal of environmental management
ISSN: 0301-4797
ISSN-E: 1095-8630
ISSN-L: 0301-4797
Volume: 320
Article number: 115826
DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2022.115826
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 218 Environmental engineering
Funding: We wish to acknowledge the support of the Italian Ministry of University and Research through the PRIN2017 project RELAID ( and the technical office for the Italian dams ( in Milan for providing data.
Copyright information: © 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (