A method for improving predictions of bed-load discharges to reservoirs
Article first published online: 4 JUL 2007
Lakes & Reservoirs: Research & Management
Volume 12, Issue 2, pages 59–72, June 2007
How to Cite
Lopes, V. L., Osterkamp, W. R. and Bravo-Espinosa, M. (2007), A method for improving predictions of bed-load discharges to reservoirs. Lakes & Reservoirs: Research & Management, 12: 59–72. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1770.2007.00324.x
- Issue published online: 4 JUL 2007
- Article first published online: 4 JUL 2007
- Accepted for publication 6 March 2007.
- alluvial streams;
- non-supply-limited bed-load transport;
- reservoir operation;
- sedimentation management;
- statistical methods;
- supply-limited bed-load transport
Effective management options for mitigating the loss of reservoir water storage capacity to sedimentation depend on improved predictions of bed-load discharges into the reservoirs. Most predictions of bed-load discharges, however, are based on the assumption that the rates of bed-load sediment availability equal the transport capacity of the flow, ignoring the spatio-temporal variability of the sediment supply. This paper develops a semiquantitative method to characterize bed-load sediment transport in alluvial channels, assuming a channel reach is non-supply limited when the bed-load discharge of a given sediment particle-size class is functionally related to the energy that is available to transport that fraction of the total bed-load. The method was applied to 22 alluvial stream channels in the USA to determine whether a channel reach had a supply-limited or non-supply-limited bed-load transport regime. The non-supply-limited transport regime was further subdivided into two groups on the basis of statistical tests. The results indicated the pattern of bed-load sediment transport in alluvial channels depends on the complete spectrum of sediment particle sizes available for transport rather than individual particle-size fractions represented by one characteristic particle size. The application of the method developed in this paper should assist reservoir managers in selecting bed-load sediment transport equations to improve predictions of bed-load discharge in alluvial streams, thereby significantly increasing the efficiency of management options for maintaining the storage capacity of waterbodies.