Journal of Soils and Sediments

, Volume 14, Issue 12, pp 2001–2018 | Cite as

Process-based modelling of erosion, sediment transport and reservoir siltation in mesoscale semi-arid catchments

  • Axel Bronstert
  • José-Carlos de Araújo
  • Ramon J. Batalla
  • Alexandre Cunha Costa
  • José Miguel Delgado
  • Till Francke
  • Saskia Foerster
  • Andreas Guentner
  • José Andrés López-Tarazón
  • George Leite Mamede
  • Pedro Henrique Medeiros
  • Eva Mueller
  • Damià Vericat
ANALYSIS AND MODELLING OF SEDIMENT TRANSFER IN MEDITERRANEAN RIVER BASINS

Abstract

Purpose

To support scientifically sound water management in dryland environments a modelling system has been developed for the quantitative assessment of water and sediment fluxes in catchments, transport in the river system, and retention in reservoirs. The spatial scale of interest is the mesoscale because this is the scale most relevant for management of water and land resources.

Materials and methods

This modelling system comprises process-oriented hydrological components tailored for dryland characteristics coupled with components comprising hillslope erosion, sediment transport and reservoir deposition processes. The spatial discretization is hierarchically designed according to a multi-scale concept to account for particular relevant process scales. The non-linear and partly intermittent run-off generation and sediment dynamics are dealt with by accounting for connectivity phenomena at the intersections of landscape compartments. The modelling system has been developed by means of data from nested research catchments in NE-Spain and in NE-Brazil.

Results and discussion

In the semi-arid NE of Brazil sediment retention along the topography is the main process for sediment retention at all scales, i.e. the sediment delivery is transport limited. This kind of deposition retains roughly 50 to 60 % of eroded sediment, maintaining a similar deposition proportion in all spatial scales investigated. On the other hand, the sediment retained in reservoirs is clearly related to the scale, increasing with catchment area. With increasing area, there are more reservoirs, increasing the possibility of deposition. Furthermore, the area increase also promotes an increase in flow volume, favouring the construction of larger reservoirs, which generally overflow less frequently and retain higher sediment fractions. The second example comprises a highly dynamic Mediterranean catchment in NE-Spain with nested sub-catchments and reveals the full dynamics of hydrological, erosion and deposition features. The run-off modelling performed well with only some overestimation during low-flow periods due to the neglect of water losses along the river. The simulated peaks in sediment flux are reproduced well, while low-flow sediment transport is less well captured, due to the disregard of sediment remobilization in the riverbed during low flow.

Conclusions

This combined observation and modelling study deepened the understanding of hydro-sedimentological systems characterized by flashy run-off generation and by erosion and sediment transport pulses through the different landscape compartments. The connectivity between the different landscape compartments plays a very relevant role, regarding both the total mass of water and sediment transport and the transport time through the catchment.

Keywords

Connectivity Deposition Erosion Modelling Sediment transfer Semi-arid 

Supplementary material

11368_2014_994_MOESM1_ESM.docx (106 kb)
ESM 1(DOCX 105 kb)

References

  1. Aksoy H, Kavvas ML (2005) A review of hillslope and watershed scale erosion and sediment transport models. Catena 64:247–271CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alatorre LC, Beguería S, García-Ruiz JM (2010) Regional scale modelling of hillslope sediment delivery: a case study in the Barasona Reservoir watershed (Spain) using WATEM/SEDEM. J Hydrol 391:109–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arnold JG, Williams JR, Maidment DR (1995) Continuous time water and sediment-routing model for large basins. J Hydraul Eng 121:171–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bagnold RA (1956) The flow of cohesion less grains in fluids. Philos T R Soc Lond A 249:235–297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bracken LJ, Croke J (2007) The concept of hydrological connectivity to understand runoff-dominated geomorphic systems. Hydrol Process 21:1749–1763CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bracken LJ, Wainwright J, Ali GA, Tetzlaff D, Smith MW, Reaney SM, Roy AG (2013) Concepts of hydrological connectivity: research approaches, pathways and future agendas. Earth-Sci Rev 119:17–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bradley ND, Tucker GE (2012) Measuring gravel transport and dispersion in a mountain river using passive radio tracers. Earth Surf Process Landforms 37:1034–1045CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bronstert A, Plate EJ (1997) Modelling of runoff generation and soil moisture dynamics for hillslopes and micro-catchments. J Hydrol 198:177–195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brosinsky A, Foerster S, Segl K, López-Tarazón J, Piqué G, Bronstert A (2014a) Spectral fingerprinting: sediment source discrimination and contribution modelling of artificial mixtures based on VNIR-SWIR spectral properties. J Soils Sediments. doi:10.1007/s11368-014-0925-1 (this issue)
  10. Brosinsky A, Foerster S, Segl K, López-Tarazón J, Bronstert A (2014b) Spectral fingerprinting: characterizing suspended sediment sources by the use of VNIR-SWIR spectral information. J Soils Sediments. doi:10.1007/s11368-014-0927-z (this issue)
  11. Callow JN, Smettern KRJ (2009) The effect of farm dams and constructed banks on hydrologic connectivity and runoff estimation in agricultural landscapes. Environ Model Softw 24:959–968CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chow VT, Maidment DR, Mays LW (1988) Applied Hydrology. Civil Engineering Series, McGraw-Hill Int., SingaporeGoogle Scholar
  13. Costa AC (2007) Hidrologia de um abacia experimental em Caatinga conservada no semiárido brasileiro. Dissertação de Mestrado, Departamento de Engenharia Hidráulica e Ambiental, Universidade Federal doCeará – UFC. Fortaleza, CEGoogle Scholar
  14. Costa AC, Bronstert A, de Araújo JC (2012) A channel transmission losses model for different dryland rivers. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 16:1111–1135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. De Roo APJ, Wesseling CG, Ritsema CJ (1996) LISEM: a single event physically-based hydrologic and soil erosion model for drainage basins. I: Theory, input and output. Hydrol Process 10:1107–1117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. de Vente J, Poesen J, Arabkhedri M, Verstraeten G (2007) The sediment delivery problem revisited. Prog Phys Geogr 31:24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Duethmann D, Zimmer J, Gafurov A, Güntner A, Kriegel D, Merz B, Vorogushyn S (2013) Evaluation of areal precipitation estimates based on downscaled reanalysis and station data by hydrological modelling. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 17:2415–2434CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Elghali A (2012) Apports en sédiments dans le bassin versant amont du N’Fis, Approche par modélisation. Université Cadi Ayyad, Faculté des Sciences et Techniques, Département des Sciences de la Terre, Marrakesh, MoroccoGoogle Scholar
  19. Everaert W (1991) Empirical relations for the sediment transport capacity of interrill flow. Earth Surf Process Landforms 16:513–532CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fang HW, Rodi W (2003) Three-dimensional calculations of flow and suspended sediment transport in the neighborhood of the dam for the three gorges project (TGP) reservoir in the Yangtze River. J Hydraul Res 41:379–393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Flanagan DC, Nearing M (1995) USDA – Water Erosion Prediction Project: Hillslope Profile and Watershed Model Documentation. National Soil Erosion Research Laboratory Report No. 10, West Lafayette IndianaGoogle Scholar
  22. Foerster S, Wilczok C, Brosinsky A, Segl K (2014) Assessment of sediment connectivity from vegetation cover and topography using remotely sensed data in a dryland catchment in the Spanish Pyrenees. J Soils Sediments doi:10.1007/s11368-014-0992-3 (this issue)
  23. Francke T (2009) Measurement and modelling of water and sediment fluxes in meso-scale dryland catchments. PhD-Thesis at the University of Potsdam, Germany. 137 pp. http://opus.kobv.de/ubp/volltexte/2009/3152/
  24. Francke T, Güntner A, Bronstert A, Mamede G, Mueller EN (2008) Automated catena-based discretization of landscapes for the derivation of hydrological modelling units. Int J Geograph Inf Sci 22:111–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Francke T, Werb S, Sommerer E, López-Tarazón JA (2014) Analysis of runoff, sediment dynamics and sediment yield of subcatchments in the highly erodible Isábena catchment, Central Pyrenees. J Soils Sediments doi:10.1007/s11368-014-0990-5 (this issue)
  26. Gläser C (2009) Modellierung des Wasserhaushaltes eines Einzugsgebietes in Südchile unter Berücksichtigung der Landnutzungsänderung. Technical University of Braunschweig, Institut für Geoökologie, Braunschweig, Germany. URL: http://www.soil.tu-bs.de/download/downloads/Diplomarbeiten/Glaeser.DA.2009.toc-abs.pdf
  27. Gourbesville P (2008) Challenges for integrated water resources management. Phys Chem Earth Parts A B C 33:284–289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Güntner A (2002) Large-scale hydrological modelling in the semi-arid north-east of Brazil. PhD-Thesis at the University of Potsdam, Germany, 120 pp. http://opus.kobv.de/ubp/volltexte/2005/62/
  29. Güntner A, Bronstert A (2004) Representation of landscape variability and lateral redistribution processes for large-scale hydrological modelling in semi-arid areas. J Hydrol 297:136–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Güntner A, Krol M, de Araújo JC, Bronstert A (2004) Simple water balance modelling of surface reservoir systems in a large data-scarce semiarid region. Hydrol Sci J 49:901–918CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Jackisch C (2007) Towards applied modeling of the human-eco-system an approach of hydrology based integrated modeling of a semi-arid sub-catchment in rural north-west India. Universität Potsdam, Institut für Erd- und Umweltwissenschaften, Potsdam, Germany. URL: http://opus.kobv.de/ubp/volltexte/2007/1351/
  32. Kavvas M, Chen Z, Dogrul C, Yoon J, Ohara N, Liang L, Aksoy H, Anderson M, Yoshitani J, Fukami K, Matsuura T (2004) Watershed environmental hydrology (WEHY) model based on upscaled conservation equations: hydrologic module. J Hydrol Eng 9:450–464CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kebede Gurmessa T, Bárdossy A (2009) A principal components regression approach to model the bed-evolution of reservoirs. J Hydrol 368:30–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kebede Gurmessa T (2007) Numerical investigation on flow and transport characteristics to improve long-term simulation of reservoir sedimentation, Doctoral Thesis. Institut für Wasserbau, Universität Stuttgart, StuttgartGoogle Scholar
  35. Kirkby MJ (1997) Physically based process model for hydrology, ecology and land degradation. In: Brandt CJ, Thornes JB (eds) Mediterranean Desertification and Land Use. Wiley, UKGoogle Scholar
  36. Liébault F, Bellot H, Chapuis M, Klotz S, Deschâtres M (2012) Bedload tracing in a high-sediment-load mountain stream. Earth Surf Process Landf 37:385–399CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lesschen JP, Schoorl JM, Cammeraat LH (2009) Modelling runoff and erosion for a semi-arid catchment using a multi-scale approach based on hydrological connectivity. Geomorphology 109:174–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lima Neto IE, Wiegand MC, de Araújo JC (2011) Sediment redistribution due to a dense reservoir network in a large semi-arid Brazilian basin. Hydrol Sci J 56:319–333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. López-Tarazón JA, Batalla RJ, Vericat D, Francke T (2009) Suspended sediment transport in a highly erodible catchment: the River Isabena (Southern Pyrenees). Geomorphology 109:210–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. López-Tarazón JA, Batalla RJ, Vericat D (2011) In-channel sediment storage in a highly erodible catchment: the River Isábena (Ebro basin, Southern Pyrenees). Z Geomorphol 55:365–382CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. López-Tarazón JA, Batalla RJ, Vericat D, Francke T (2012) The sediment budget of a highly dynamic mesoscale catchment: the River Isábena. Geomorphology 138:15–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Lu H, Moran C, Prosser I, Sivapalan M (2004) Modelling sediment transport ratio based on physical principles. 2nd Biennial Meeting of the iEMSs, Vol 3: 1117-1122Google Scholar
  43. Malveira VTC, De Araújo JC, Guentner A (2012) Hydrological impact of a high-density reservoir network in the semiarid north-eastern Brazil. J Hydrol Eng 17:109–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Mamede GL (2008) Reservoir sedimentation in dryland catchments: modelling and management. PhD-Thesis at the University of Potsdam, Germany, 95 pp. http://opus.kobv.de/ubp/volltexte/2008/1704/
  45. Mamede GL, Araújo N, Schneider CM, de Araújo JC, Herrmann HJ (2012) Overspill avalanching in a dense reservoir network. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 109:7191–7195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Medeiros PHA, de Araújo JC (2014) Temporal variability of rainfall in a semiarid environment in Brazil and its effect on the sediment transport processes. J Soils Sediments 14:1216–1223Google Scholar
  47. Medeiros PHA (2009) Hydro-sedimentological processes and connectivity in a semi-arid catchment: distributed modelling and validation in different scales. PhD-Thesis. Federal University of Ceará, Brazil (in Portuguese)Google Scholar
  48. Medeiros PHA, de Araújo JC, Mamede GL, Creutzfeldt B, Güntner A, Bronstert A (2014) Connectivity of sediment transport in a semiarid environment: a synthesis for the Upper Jaguaribe Basin. Brazil J Soils Sediments. doi:10.1007/s11368-014-0988-z (this issue)
  49. Meyer-Peter E, Müller R (1948) Formulas for bedload transport, Proc Int Assoc of Hydraul Res, 3rd Ann. Conference, Stockholm, pp 39–64Google Scholar
  50. Morgan RPC, Quinton N, Smith RE, Govers G, Poesen JWA, Auerswald K, Chisci G, Torri D, Styczen ME (1998) The European Soil Erosion Model (EUROSEM): a dynamic approach for predicting sediment transport from fields and small catchments. Earth Surf Process Landf 23:527–544CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Mueller EN, Wainwright J, Parsons AJ (2007) Impact of connectivity on the modelling of overland flow within semiarid shrubland environments. Water Resour Res 43:W09412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Mueller EN, Batalla RJ, Garcia C, Bronstert A (2008) Modelling bed-load rates from fine grain-size patches during small floods in a gravel-bed river. J Hydraul Eng 134:1430–1439CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Mueller EN, Batalla RJ, Francke T, Bronstert A (2009) Modelling the effects of land-use change on runoff and sediment yield for a meso-scale catchment in the Southern Pyrenees. Catena 79:103–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Mueller EN, Güntner A, Francke T, Mamede G (2010) Modelling sediment export, retention and reservoir sedimentation in drylands with the WASA-SED Model. Geosci Model Dev 3:275–291CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Neitsch SL, Arnold JG, Kiniry JR, Williams JR, King KW (2002) Soil and Water Assessment Tool, Theoretical Documentation, Texas Water Resources Institute, TWRI Report TR-191Google Scholar
  56. Nogueira MJ, Oliveira VPVd (2003) Physical and environmental context in the State of Ceará. In: Gaiser T, Krol M, Frischkorn H, Aráujo JCs (eds) Global change and regional impacts: water availibility and vulnerability of ecosystems and society in the semiarid Northeast of Brazil. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  57. Noman A (2001) Erosionsmodell für semi-aride Einzugsgebiete am Beispiel jemenitischer Wadis. Mitteilungen des Leichtweiss-Instituts für Wasserbau, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Heft 151Google Scholar
  58. Pereira RCdM (1982) Solos. In: Oliveira JGBd (ed) Projet o Aiuaba, FortalezaGoogle Scholar
  59. Peschke G (1987) Moisture and runoff components from a physically founded approach. Acta Hydrophysica 31:191–205Google Scholar
  60. Piqué G, López-Tarazón JA, Batalla RJ (2014) Variability of in-channel sediment storage in a river draining highly erodible areas (the Isábena, Ebro basin). J Soils Sediments. doi:10.1007/s11368-014-0957-6 (this issue)
  61. Reaney SM, Bracken LJ, Kirkby MJ (2007) Use of the Connectivity of Runoff Model (CRUM) to investigate the influence of storm characteristics on runoff generation and connectivity in semi-arid areas. Hydrol Process 21:894–906CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Rickenmann D (2001) Comparison of bed load transport in torrents and gravel bed streams. Water Resour Res 37:3295–3305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Roehl JW (1962) Sediment source areas, delivery ratios and influencing morphological factors. IAHS Publ 59:202–213Google Scholar
  64. Schmidt J (1991) A mathematical model to simulate rainfall erosion. Catena Suppl 19:101–109Google Scholar
  65. Schoklitsch A (1950) Handbuch des Wasserbaus, 2nd edn. Springer, Vienna, p 257Google Scholar
  66. Shuttleworth J, Wallace JS (1985) Evaporation from sparse crops - an energy combination theory. Q J Roy Meteor Soc 111:839–855CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Sidorchuk A (1999) Dynamic and static models of gully erosion. Catena 37:401–414CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Sivapalan M, Viney NR, Jeevaraj CG (1996) Water and salt balance modelling to predict the effects of land use changes in forested catchments. 3. The large scale model. Hydrol Process 10:429–446CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Smart GM, Jaeggi MNR (1983) Sediment transport on steep slopes, Mitteil. 64, Versuchsanstalt für Wasserbau, Hydrologie und Glaziologie, ETH-Zürich, SwitzerlandGoogle Scholar
  70. Smith MW, Bracken LJ, Cox NJ (2010) Toward a dynamic representation of hydrological connectivity at the hillslope scale in semi-arid area. Water Resour Res 46:W12540Google Scholar
  71. Storm B, Jorgensen GH, Styczen M (1987) Simulation of water flow and soil erosion processes with a distributed physically-based modeling system. IAHS Publ 167:595–608Google Scholar
  72. Valero-Garcés B, Navas A, Machín J (1997) Sediment deposition in the Barasona reservoir (central Pyrenees, Spain): temporal and spatial variability of sediment yield and land use impacts. IAHS Publ 245:241–249Google Scholar
  73. Valero-Garcés, B.L., Navas, A., Machín, J., Walling, D. (1999): Sediment sources and siltation in mountain reservoirs: a case study from the Central Spanish Pyrenees. Geomorphology, 18, 23–41Google Scholar
  74. Vericat D, Smith M, Brasington J (2014) Patterns of erosion and deposition in badlands determined by high resolution event-scale topographic surveys. Catena (in press)Google Scholar
  75. Viney NR, Sivapalan M (1999) A conceptual model of sediment transport: application to the Avon Riber Basin in Western Australia. Hydrol Process 13:727–743CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Wainwright J, Parsons AJ, Michaelides K, Powell D, Brazier R (2003) Linking short- and long-term soil-erosion modelling. In: Lang A, Hennrich K, Dikau R (eds) Long Term Hillslope and Fluvial System Modelling. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, Germany, pp 37–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Wainwright J, Turnbull L, Ibrahim TG, Lexartza-Artza I, Thornton SF, Brazier RE (2011) Linking environmental regimes, space and time: interpretations of structural and functional connectivity. Geomorphology 126:387–404CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Wainwright J, Parsons AJ, Mueller EN, Brazier RE, Powell DM, Fenti B (2008) A transport-distance approach to scaling erosion rates: 1. background and model development. Earth Surf Process Landf 33:813–826CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Walling DE (1983) The sediment delivery problem. J Hydrol 65:209–237CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Walling DE, Woodward JC, Nicholas AP (1993) A multi-parameter approach to fingerprinting suspended sediment sources. In: Peters NE, Hoehn E, Leibundgut Ch, Tase N, Walling DE (eds) Tracers in hydrology. IAHS Publication No. 215, IAHS Press, Wallingford, pp 329–337Google Scholar
  81. Wicks JM, Bathurst JC (1996) SHESED: a physically based, distributed erosion and sediment yield component for the SHE hydrological modeling system. J Hydrol 175:213–238CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Williams J (1977) Sediment delivery ratios determined with sediment and runoff models. In: Erosion and solid matter transport in inland waters. Proceedings of the IAHS-Paris Symposium. IAHS Publications No. 122.168-179Google Scholar
  83. Williams J (1995) The EPIC Model. In: Singh VP (ed) Computer models of watershed hydrology. Water Resources Publications, Highlands Ranch, CO, pp 909–1000Google Scholar
  84. Wischmeier W, Smith D (1978) Rainfall erosion loss: a guide to conservation planning. USDA Agriculture Handbook 537, Washington (DC), 58 ppGoogle Scholar
  85. Wood PA (1978) Fine-sediment mineralogy of source rocks and suspended sediment, Rother Catchment, West Sussex, Earth Surf. Processes Landf 3:255–263Google Scholar
  86. World Commission on Dams (2000) Dams and development. A new framework for decision-making. The report of the world commission on dams. Earthscan Publcations Ltd, LondonGoogle Scholar
  87. Wu W, Jiang E, Wang SY (2004) Depth averaged 2D calculation of flow and sediment transport in the lower Yellow River. J Hydraul Res 2:51–59Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Axel Bronstert
    • 1
  • José-Carlos de Araújo
    • 2
  • Ramon J. Batalla
    • 3
  • Alexandre Cunha Costa
    • 5
  • José Miguel Delgado
    • 1
  • Till Francke
    • 1
  • Saskia Foerster
    • 7
  • Andreas Guentner
    • 8
  • José Andrés López-Tarazón
    • 9
  • George Leite Mamede
    • 6
  • Pedro Henrique Medeiros
    • 10
  • Eva Mueller
    • 1
  • Damià Vericat
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Hydrology & Climatology, Institute of Earth and Environmental ScienceUniversity of PotsdamPotsdam-GolmGermany
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural EngineeringFederal University of CearáFortalezaBrazil
  3. 3.University of Lleida, Fluvial Dynamics Research Group -RIUSCataloniaSpain
  4. 4.University of Lleida, Fluvial Dynamics Research Group -RIUSCataloniaSpain
  5. 5.Campus da Liberdade Avenida da AboliçãoRedençãoBrazil
  6. 6.Campus da Liberdade Avenida da AboliçãoRedençãoBrazil
  7. 7.GFZ German Research Centre for GeosciencesSection 1.4 Remote Sensing, TelegrafenbergPotsdamGermany
  8. 8.GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Section 5.4 Hydrology, TelegrafenbergPotsdamGermany
  9. 9.University of Lleida, Fluvial Dynamics Research Group -RIUSCataloniaSpain
  10. 10.Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of CearáMaracanaú, CearáBrazil

Personalised recommendations