Downstream changes in river morphology as a result of dam developments

Beck, Julia S. (Julia Samantha) (2001-12)

Thesis (MEng)--University of Stellenbosch, 2001.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: A dam can have a significant impact on the downstream river morphology by altering both the flow regime and the sediment load. The effect of a dam is dependent on factors such as the storage capacity relative to the mean annual runoff (MAR), the operation of the reservoir and the sediment yield of the catchment. Changes in the river morphology include the degradation and coarsening of the riverbed, generally closer to the dam, and aggradation further downstream where the sediment delivered by tributaries cannot be carried through because of the reduced sediment transport capacity of the river. The impact of a dam can stretch over several hundreds of kilometres. The main objective of this thesis was to gain a better understanding of the impacts that dams can have on the downstream river morphology. This was done by developing equations that can describe the channel geometry, investigating the effect of the presence of clay and silt on the sediment transport behaviour of sediments, as well as detailed evaluation of simulations carried out with a one-dimensional mathematical river model (MIKE 11). The calibrated regime equations were found to be comparable to other internationally developed regime equations and to be suitable for natural rivers. It was found, however, that these regime equations are not applicable to rivers downstream of dams that have highly unnatural release patterns. Further research is needed in this regard. By investigating the effect of cohesive sediments on the sediment transport behaviour of mixed sediments it was found that as little as 7% clay and silt in the bed could affect their sediment transport characteristics. A methodology was also developed by which the critical conditions for mass erosion of cohesive sediments can be described in terms of the applied stream power. Sediment transport equations were calibrated and verified in terms of the unit input stream power for fine and non-cohesivesediments. The sediment transport equation for fine sediments was implemented in MIKE 11. The simulations over a 40 km reach of the Pongola River downstream of Pongolapoort Dam, have shown that even when a large demand is placed on the stored water, and most of the smaller floods are therefore absorbed by the dam, the downstream impact can still be considerable, with as much as 5 m deep erosion in places. The sediment loads are generally reduced (by as much as 35%), but the effective catchment area downstream of the dam has been reduced by as much as 90%, indicating that substantial erosion had to have taken place in the river. Coarsening of the riverbed was also observed during the simulations.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: 'n Dam kan 'n aansienlike impak he op die riviermorfologie stroomaf daarvan, deurdat dit beide die vloei en sedimentlading drasties kan verander. Die effek van 'n dam hang van verskeie faktore af, soos die opgaarkapasiteit in vergelyking met die gemiddelde jaarlikse afloop (GJA), die bestuur van die dam en die sedimentlewering van die opvanggebied. Veranderings in die riviermorfologie behels die degradering van die rivierbed, sowel as die uitspoel van fyn materiaal uit die rivierbed, veral nader aan die dam. Deponering vind verder stroomaf van die dam plaas, waar die sediment wat deur die sytakke ingevoer word nie deurgevoer kan word nie, weens die verlaagde sedimentdravermoe van die rivier. Sodoende kan rivierlope oor honderde kilometers deur 'n dam bemvloed word. Die hoofdoel van die tesis was om meer insig te verkry oor die impak wat damme op die stroomaf riviermorfologie kan he. Derhalwe is vergelykings ontwikkel wat die riviermorfologie kan beskryf. Die effek van die teenwoordigheid van klei en slik op die sedimentvervoer-eienskappe is ondersoek, en gedetaileerde ontledings is met 'n een-dimensionele wiskundige riviermodel (MIKE 11) is gedoen. Daar is bevind dat die regime-formules goed vergelyk met ander intemasionaalontwikkelde formules en dat hulle geskik is vir toepassing op natuurlike riviere. Daar is egter gevind dat die formules nie geskik is vir riviere wat stroomaf Ie van damme wat hoogs onnatuurlike loslatings het nie. Verdere navorsing is op hierdie gebied nodig. Ondersoek na die effek wat klei en slik op die sedimentdravermoe het, het getoon dat slegs 7% klei en slik in die rivierbed die sedimentvervoer-eienskappe van mengsels van fyn en growwe materiaal kan bemvloed. 'n Metode is ontwikkel waarmee die kritiese toestande vir massa-erosie van kohesiewe sediment beskryfkan word in terme van die aangewende stroomdrywing teen die bed. 'n Sedimentvervoer-vergelyking in terme van die eenheids-insetstroomdrywing vir fyn en nie-kohesiewe sedimente is gekalibreer en geverifieer. Die nuwe sedimentvervoer-vergelyking vir fyn sedimente is gebruik in die MIKE 11 simulasies. Hierdie simulasies oor 'n 40 km loop van die Pongolarivier stroomaf van Pongolapoort Dam, het getoon dat selfs as daar 'n groot aanvraag op 'n dam se water geplaas word, en gevolglik meeste van die kleiner vloede deur die dam geabsorbeer word, die impak van die dam nogs steeds aansienlik kan wees, met soveel as 5 m diep uitskuring in plekke. Die sedimentladings het gewoonlik verminder (met soveel as 35%), maar die die effektiewe opvanggebiedarea stroomafvan die dam het met meer as 90% verminder, wat daarop dui dat daar aansienlike erodering in die rivier plaasgevind het. Die simulasies het ook getoon dat die hoeveelheid fyn materiaal in die rivierbed verminder het.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/52243
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