Abstract Repetitive coverages of Landsat MSS images over Bhakra Dam Reservoir (Sutlej River, India,) have been analyzed and processed on an optical-analogue processing device for feature enhancement. A lineament-tectonic map of the area has been prepared and a number of north-south trending post-Siwalik geological faults have been deciphered on the images, which can be related to the northwards drift of the Indian plate. Temporal variations in the lake reservoir area have been mapped from the images, the accuracy of which can be improved through digital processing. A method for volumetric estimation of stored water from the Landsat data has been suggested which can be applied in known topographic conditions. It is further shown that heavy silt-yielding zones in the reservoir can be identified on the basis of multiple converging evidences. The importance of remote sensing in water resources management has been emphasized.