Rehabilitation of Sunkoshi Small Hydropower Plant (2.6 MK), Nepal after Sequences of Natural Disaster


  • Sakunda Ojha Sanima Hydropower Ltd, Dhumbarai, Kathmandu, Nepal



Sunkoshi Small Hydropower Plant (SSHP) is a run-of-river type project constructed in Sunkoshi River located in Sindhupalchowk District of Bagmati zone of Central Development Region, Nepal. The plant started its commercial operation since March 2005. During the year 2014, 2015 and 2016 the plant faced series of natural disaster events; landslide at Jure village on 2 August 2014, earthquake (7.8 magnitude) on 25 April 2015, landslide dammed flood in Sunkoshi River on 11
August 2015 and Glacier Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) in Sunkoshi River on 5 July 2016. The Jure landslide created 55 m dam across Sunkoshi River. Thus created landslide dammed lake inundated the powerhouse of SSHP for 36 days. About seven million cubic meters of water was reserved in the lake. The event damaged entire powerhouse building, Electromechanical Equipment (EM), tailrace culvert, portion of steel penstock pipe and staff quarter. The rehabilitation works after Jure landslides included strengthening of powerhouse building and tailrace culvert, winding of generators, replacement of electromechanical equipment and portion of penstock pipe and change of transmission line alignment. On 25 April 2015, most of the rehabilitation works were completed. The EM experts were conducting a wet test for power generation when the power-plant was hit by other natural disaster - earthquake of 7.8 Rector Scale. The earthquake and its aftershocks followed by landslide dammed outburst flood of 11 August 2015 damaged headworks structures - formed a cavern of 56.6 m3 below gravel trap,
collapsed entire powerhouse building and damaged newly installed electromechanical equipment, created several landslides along water way alignment and damaged about 900 m of penstock alignment. Some innovations in designs were introduced such as construction of sliding type saddle supports, bio-engineering combined with civil engineering structures to stabilize landslides, retrofitting of powerhouse building, use of crackamite and rock drill and avoidance of heavy masonry wall and gable wall in powerhouse. After rehabilitation works, the power plant re-operated since 4 January 2016 - after about 18 months. However, the plant was again affected by a Glacier Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) in Botekoshi River on 5 July 2016.