Three-dimensional flow in centered pool-riffle sequences


  • José F. Rodríguez,

    Corresponding author
    • Civil, Surveying and Environmental Engineering, School of Engineering, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Carlos M. García,

    1. Centro de Estudios y Tecnología del Agua, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Córdoba, Argentina
    2. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Buenos Aires, Argentina
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  • Marcelo H. García

    1. Ven Te Chow Hydrosystems Laboratory, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, USA
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Corresponding author: J. F. Rodríguez, Civil, Surveying and Environmental Engineering, School of Engineering, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia. (


[1] Pool-riffle sequences are geomorphological features of many streams, thought to contribute to the hydrodynamic variability necessary to support healthy habitat conditions. Due to this fact, the addition of artificial pools and riffles is a common alternative for restoration projects on channelized streams. In this paper, detailed three-dimensional (3-D) flow measurements conducted on a scale model of an existing pool-riffle design implemented as part of a restoration project is presented. The design incorporated the basic features of natural pool-riffle sequences but maintained the deepest part of the pool in the center of the cross section and away from the banks. Results showed that the 3-D flow patterns were qualitatively different for two discharge conditions tested. The lower discharge case was strongly affected by the topography, displaying a pattern consistent with a secondary flow generated by the curvature of the streamlines. The higher discharge case was less affected by the topography, presenting a secondary flow pattern similar to that observed over a flat bed and typically associated with turbulence anisotropy. Self-maintenance and flow variability were also investigated. Even though convergence of the values of bed shear stresses at pool and riffle sections with increasing discharge did take place, reversal conditions did not occur. The difference in flow structure with flow stage was also reflected in the spatial flow variability, the lower discharge displaying larger variability than the higher discharge. The higher discharge generated a level of variability comparable with the values obtained over a flat bed.