Hydropower infrastructure performance after the 2015 Gorkha, Nepal, earthquake sequence

Menzer Pehlivan, Christopher Madden Madugo, Amy Macdonald, Deepak Rayamajhi, Youssef M.A. Hashash, Binod Tiwari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hydropower infrastructure, the primary source of electricity in Nepal, experienced severe damage following the 2015 Gorkha earthquake sequence, resulting in a 15% loss in the country’s energy production. The performance of hydropower infrastructure during and after the sequence was one of the unique focuses of the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) study. The GEER team visited damaged hydropower projects along the Trishuli and Sunkoshi rivers by road and on foot, along with the ongoing 465-MW Upper Tamakoshi hydropower project by helicopter. The primary cause of damage to the hydropower infrastructure was landslide and rockfall debris falling on powerhouses, penstocks, and dam structures. Moreover, landslides blocked road access to many sites, delaying necessary repairs to damaged structures and resumption of power generation. Power production in Nepal before and after the 2015 Gorkha earthquake sequence, seismic performance of visited hydropower projects, and short- and long-term effects, together with residual risks for Nepal’s hydropower infrastructure, are discussed in this paper.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S115-S132
JournalEarthquake Spectra
Issue numberSpecial issue 1
StatePublished - Dec 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geophysics


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