Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2022, Vol. 77 ›› Issue (7): 1603-1614.doi: 10.11821/dlxb202207003

• Tibetan Plateau Scientific Expedition and Research • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Distribution of hydropower development suitability in Tibet in the face of geological hazard susceptibility

ZHANG Xiguo1(), ZHOU Xiongdong1, XU Mengzhen1(), LIANG Xinyue2   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Hydroscience and Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
    2. Key Laboratory of Mountain Hazards and Earth Surface Processes, CAS, Chengdu 610041, China
  • Received:2021-07-09 Revised:2022-05-16 Online:2022-07-25 Published:2022-09-13
  • Contact: XU Mengzhen;
  • Supported by:
    The Second Tibetan Plateau Scientific Expedition and Research(2019QZKK0903);Scientific Research Project of Three Gorges Group Co. Ltd(SXXZ10315);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41790403);National Natural Science Foundation of China(51639005)


Tibet is recognized as the key repository and focal area for future hydropower development in China because of its high capacity for hydropower storage; however, frequent occurrence of geological hazards in this region have posed great challenges to us. Priority should be given to the effects of geological hazards on the suitability of areas in Tibet for hydropower development. Based on the maximum entropy model, the susceptibility of potential development areas to three typical geological hazards (debris flow, avalanche, and landslide) was calculated using data of landforms, hydrometeorology, and vegetation coverage of Tibet. Furthermore, hydropower development suitability was evaluated by considering distribution of potential hydropower storage alongside geological hazard susceptibility. The results show that the Qiangna-Bangxin section of the Great Bend of the Yarlung Tsangpo River has the highest suitability and would be a prime development target. The Mali-Linka and Zhonglinka-Chawalong sections in the middle reaches of the Nujiang River, the Tiantuo-Bitu section of the Weiqu River, the Chaya-Cuowa, Rumei-Yanjing, and Muxie-Gobo sections in the upper reaches of the Jinsha River, the Motuo-Lijia and Xiaru-Penji sections in the lower and upper reaches, respectively, of the Yarlung Tsangpo River, and the Pengqu River Basin in the Himalayas are all highly suitable for hydropower development. However, these areas also show high susceptibility to geological hazards, so they should be developed with caution. The Renbu-Qushui section in the middle reaches of the Yarlung Tsangpo River, the Zhongyu-Yigong section of the Yigong Tsangpo River, the southern section of the Chayu River, and the lower reaches of the Langqin Tsangpo River show moderate suitability and low hazard susceptibility, and thus present future development opportunities. Therefore, other areas are not suitable for hydropower development. This study presents an effective suitability evaluation method for hydropower development in Tibet, and its results provide a scientific basis for hydropower planning and site selection in this region.

Key words: Tibet, hydropower, geological hazard susceptibility, maximum entropy model, hydropower development suitability