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Channel Morphology Below Reservoir Storage Projects

  • Paul G. Buma (a1) and J. Chadwick Day (a2)


Reservoir storage projects are known to alter significantly the environmental settings in which they are established. Extensive data are required to assess quantitatively the physical effects of human interference with rivers. Methodologies must be developed to permit continual monitoring of such changes, so that environmental effects of storage projects may be considered in more integrated, comprehensive plans than hitherto for future river-development efforts.

This study documents stream-channel changes over a five-years period following reservoir completion at eight cross-sections on the main stream below a dam and on one tributary. Of eight main-stream sections, four are increasing in cross-sectional area, namely numbers one, five, six, and seven. Of these, the crosssectional area of numbers one and seven is increasing laterally and that of five and six is increasing vertically. The average annual degradation of sections five and six is 0.092 m over the study period, compared with an average of 0.031 m in the United States over the first 10–15 years after dam closure. Sections three, eight, and nine, are shitfing laterally without a crosssectional area increase, while of sections 2 and 4 the cross-sectional area remained largely unchanged.

Extraction of most of the sediment load by the new reservoir led to increased erosion of the stream channel below the dam. However, it is not always predictable whether the increased erosive power of released clearwater will induce the ongoing channel to erode its bed, widen its section, or cause the bed to move laterally. Nearly all of the nine Deer Creek study sections experienced one of these changes over the study period of five years.



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Channel Morphology Below Reservoir Storage Projects

  • Paul G. Buma (a1) and J. Chadwick Day (a2)


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