The Korean Peninsula's mountainous terrain poses challenges to effective water resource management. Notably, two significant river basins, North Han River and Imjin River basins, are essentially shared rivers originating in North Korea. After the construction of various dams in North Korea, billions of tons per year of water annually decreased from the upper reaches of these rivers of North Korea to South Korea. This study conducted an impact analysis on two major river basins affected by dam operations in North Korea. Both before and after the Imnam Dam operation, significant reduction (27.7%) in the average monthly inflow was observed, and the total release of the Hwacheon Dam in South Korea decreased by 40.2%. The analysis of instream flow indicated that the operation of dams in North Korea had a substantial impact on fulfilling instream flow requirements for dams located in North Han River and Imjin River basins. To ensure instream flow, this study proposed two plans. The first plan involved the utilization of existing dams in the North Han River basin, while the second plan suggested connecting the dams in North Korea, taking into account the shared rivers.

  • The effects of streamflow fluctuation resulting from two major dams’ operations in North Korea was analyzed.

  • Whether all dams in South Korea released to maintain the instream flow was examined.

  • Two plans to ensure the instream flow were proposed. The first plan involved the existing dams’ utilization in South Korea and another plan revealed the connection of the dams in North Korea, considering the shared rivers.

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