A review of sediment quantity issues: Examples from the River Ebro and adjacent basins (Northeastern Spain)

Authors

  • Ramon J Batalla,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Environment and Soil Sciences, University of Lleida, Alcalde Rovira Roure 191, E-25198 Lleida, Catalonia, Spain
    2. Hydrology Section, Forest Technology Center of Catalonia, Solsona, Catalonia, Spain
    • Department of Environment and Soil Sciences, University of Lleida, Alcalde Rovira Roure 191, E-25198 Lleida, Catalonia, Spain.
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  • Damià Vericat

    1. Hydrology Section, Forest Technology Center of Catalonia, Solsona, Catalonia, Spain
    2. Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, The University of Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Wales, United Kingdom
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Abstract

Sediment flows naturally through the drainage network, from source areas to deposition zones. Sedimentary disequilibrium in rivers and coastlines is related to the imbalance within the fluvial system caused mostly by dams, instream mining, and changes in land use. This phenomenon is also responsible for ecological perturbations in rivers and streams. A broad need exists to establish comprehensive management strategies (soft measures) that would go beyond site-specific engineering practices (technical measures) typically taken to solve particular problems. Long-term programs are also required to monitor sediment transport in river basins, in order to assess the magnitude and variability of sediment transfer and potential deficits. This paper shows examples of rivers with important sediment disequilibrium in the Ebro and adjacent basins. These basins, like most in the Iberian Peninsula, experience sediment discontinuity in the catchment–river–coast system. Reservoir siltation is the main quantitative issue. Land use change and especially gravel mining downstream from dams accentuate the process. We also present and discuss recent developments on water and sediment management undertaken to improve the morphosedimentary dynamics of rivers. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2011;7:256–268. © 2010 SETAC

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