Detection of trend change in long-term flow series of Upper Indus River Watershed, Pakistan

  • K. HussainEmail author
  • M. Shahab
  • J. Štibinger
Original Article


The distributional analysis and trends in flow discharge from the Upper Indus River Watershed located in the northern area of Pakistan were assessed for the period 1962–2016 that were analyzed at the monthly, minimum, maximum and annual time scale. Generalized extreme value, Gamma and Normal technique were used for distributional analysis and flow trend assessment was carried out using Sen’s slope and the Mann–Kendall test. The Generalized extreme value found overall best fit distribution. Result showed that a positive significant trend (P = 0.05) in monthly flow discharge was noticed in March (z = 2.21), October (z = 2.30) at Besham station before Bhasha dam and in December (z = 2.03) after Bhasha dam. Therefore, a decreasing significant trend (P < 0.05) in flow discharge was detected in February (z = − 4.23) after Bhasha dam scenario. In February and from June to September, no significant trends were detected before Bhasha dam case, while after Bhasha Dam case any significant trends were not noticed in March, June and July. The mean annual flow discharge at Besham gauging station before and after Bhasha Dam did not have any significant trends, while a decreasing significant trend (P < 0.05) in maximum flow discharge was detected (z = − 0.62). A significant increasing trend (P > 0.05) was detected in minimum flow discharge (z = 1.16) before Bhasha dam and (P = 0.05) was detected in minimum flow discharge (z = 1.73) after Bhasha Dam. The results confirmed that increasing minimum flow discharge tendency at Besham after Bhasha Dam has positive influence on river ecosystem and hydropower project proposed downstream of Bhasha Dam.


Diamer Bhasha Dam Flow discharge Indus Basin Mann–Kendall Trend analysis 



The data for the study were provided by the Surface Water Hydrology Project (SWHP) of WAPDA and Thakot Hydro-Power Consultant. We appreciate their help and cooperation.

Author contributions

All authors contributed significantly to the development of methodology applied in this study. KH, MS and JS designed the experiments, contributed equally in the work methodology and wrote the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Development Consultants 114LahorePakistan
  2. 2.Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity of Engineering and Technology PeshawarPeshawarPakistan
  3. 3.Department of Land Use and ImprovementCzech University of Life SciencesPrague 6-SuchdolCzech Republic

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