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Sun Kosi

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Sun Kosi

Sun Kosi (Poiqu)
The Sino-Nepal Friendship Bridge over the Sun Kosi at Kodari
Origin Tibet
Mouth Confluence with Arun and Tamur to form Saptkoshi at Trivenighat, Nepal
Basin countries Tibet, Nepal
Source elevation 8,012 m (26,286 ft)
Mouth elevation 640 m (2,100 ft)[1]
River system Koshi River
Left tributaries Tamba Koshi, Likhu Khola, Dudh Koshi
Right tributaries Indravati River

The Sun Kosi, also called Sun Koshi, is a trans-boundary river that originates in the Tibet and it is part of the Koshi or Saptkoshi River system in Nepal.[1]

River course

The Sun Kosi's headwaters are located in the Zhangzangbo Glacier in Tibet.[2] Its upper course, the Bhote Koshi, is known as Poiqu in Tibet.[3] Both river courses together form one basin that covers an area of about 3,394 km2 (1,310 sq mi).[1]

The Indravati meets the Sun Kosi at Dolaghat, up to where it is followed by the Arniko Rajmarg.[4] From there, the Sun Kosi flows eastwards through the valley formed between the Mahabharat Range and the Himalayas.[1]

The average annual flow is 22 x 109 m3. The average sediment load is 54 x 106 m3.[5]

The Mahabharat Range on to the Gangetic plain.[6]

There are few more smaller tributaries of the Sun Kosi such as Rosi Khola, Junga Khola, Tamakosi, Dudh Kosi, and Rasuwa Khola.

Names and etymology

Nepali: सुनकोशी

In Nepali language, the word "sun" means gold and golden;[7] and the word "kosi" means river.[8]

Koshi River system

The Koshi River drains eastern Nepal. It is also known as Saptkoshi River because of the seven rivers joining in east-central Nepal to form this river. The main rivers forming the Koshi River system are Sun Koshi, Bihar and joins the Ganges.[6][9]

The Sun Koshi contributes about 44% of the total water of the Saptakoshi, the Arun 37% and the Tamur 19%.[10]

Sun Kosi–Kamala multipurpose project

The Sun Kosi has a 90% reliable flow of 126 cubic metres per second (4,400 cu ft/s). It has been proposed that water be diverted from a small weir across the river near Kurule through a 16.6 kilometres (10.3 mi) tunnel and a 61.4 MW associated power house to the Kamala River, flowing through central Nepal. Some 72 cubic metres per second (2,500 cu ft/s) of water would be transferred to the Kamala River for the purposes of irrigation and further generation of power.[11][12]


In July 1981, a sudden ice avalanche caused a Glacial Lake Outburst Flood in the moraine-dammed Zhangzangbu-Cho Lake in the headwaters of the Poiqu in Tibet. The ensuing debris flow destroyed bridges, and sections of both the Arniko and the Nepal–China highways.[2]

On 2 August 2014, a landslide blocked the river downstream from Barabise and created a large lake that submerged a hydropower station. The collapsed river bed buried several houses, more than 30 people died. The area has been declared a flood crisis zone, and local communities are evacuated. Power supply is interrupted, and the Arniko Highway blocked.[13] See also 2014 Sunkoshi blockage

Water sports

The Sun Kosi is used for both [14]


  1. ^ a b c d Shrestha, A. B., Eriksson, M., Mool, P., Ghimire, P., Mishra, B., & Khanal, N. R. (2010). Glacial lake outburst flood risk assessment of Sun Koshi basin, Nepal. Geomatics, Natural Hazards and Risk 1(2): 157–169.
  2. ^ a b Mool, P. K.; Joshi, S. P.; Bajracharya, S. R. (2001). Glacial Lake Outburst Floods and Damage in the Country. Pages 121–136 in: Inventory of Glaciers, Glacial Lakes and Glacial Lake Outburst Floods: Monitoring and Early Warning Systems in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan Region, Nepal. International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, Kathmandu.
  3. ^ Yamada, T., Sharma, C. K. (1993). Glacier lakes and outburst floods in the Nepal Himalaya. IAHS Publications-Publications of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences, 218: 319–330.
  4. ^ Dorje, G. (1999). Tibet Handbook: with Bhutan. Bath: Footprint Handbooks. 
  5. ^ Kattelmann, R. (1991). "Hydrologic regime of the Sapt Kosi basin, Nepal". Hydrology for Water Management of Large River Basins (Proceedings of the Vienna Symposium). 201: 139–148. 
  6. ^ a b Sharma, U. P. (1996). Ecology of the Koshi river in Nepal-India (north Bihar): a typical river ecosystem. In: Jha, P. K., Ghimire, G. P. S., Karmacharya, S. B., Baral, S. R., Lacoul, P. (eds.) Environment and biodiversity in the context of South Asia. Proceedings of the Regional Conference on Environment and Biodiversity, March 7–9, 1994, Kathmandu. Ecological Society, Kathmandu. Pp 92–99.
  7. ^ Turner, R. L. (1931). "sun". A Comparative and Etymological Dictionary of the Nepali Language. K. Paul, Trench, Trubner, London. 
  8. ^ Turner, R. L. (1931). "kosi". A Comparative and Etymological Dictionary of the Nepali Language. K. Paul, Trench, Trubner, London. 
  9. ^ Negi, S. S. (1991). "Kosi River System". Himalayan Rivers, Lakes, and Glaciers. New Delhi: Indus Publishing Company. pp. 89–90. 
  10. ^ Rao, K. L. (1995). India’s Water Wealth. Hyderabad: Orient Longman Ltd. p. 70. 
  11. ^ Bhattarai, D. (2009). "Multi-purpose Projects". In Dhungel, D. N., Pun, S. B. (eds.). The Nepal-India Water Relationship: Challenges. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 69–98. 
  12. ^ Gajurel, D. (2004). "High Dam Planned for Nepal's Sapta Koshi River". Environment News Service. Retrieved 2010-05-14. 
  13. ^ Shrestha, A. B., Khanal, N. R., Shrestha, M., Nibanupudi, H. K. and Molden, D. (2014). Eye on the Sun Koshi Landslide: Monitoring and Infrastructure Planning Key to Minimizing Scale of Disasters. International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, Kathmandu.
  14. ^ Woodhatch, T. (1999). Nepal Handbook. p. 167, Footprint Handbooks, Augusta ISBN 0658000160
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