Land Use Land Cover Impact on Probable Maximum Flood and Sedimentation for Artificial Reservoirs: A Case Study in Western US

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Wondmagegn Y Yigzaw, Tennessee Technological University, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cookeville, TN, United States and Faisal Hossain, University of Washington Seattle Campus, Seattle, WA, United States
Unanticipated peak inflows that can exceed the inflow design flood (IDF) for spillways and result in possible storage loss in reservoirs from increased sedimentation rates lead to a greater risk for downstream floods. Probable maximum precipitation (PMP) and probable maximum flood (PMF) are mostly used to determine IDF. Any possible change of PMP and PMF due to future land use and land cover (LULC) change therefore requires a methodical investigation. However, the consequential sediment yield, due to altered precipitation and flow patterns into the reservoir has not been addressed in literature. Thus, this study answers the following question: “What is the combined impact of a modified PMP on PMF and sediment yield for an artificial reservoir? The Owyhee dam of Owyhee River watershed (ORW) in Oregon is selected as a case study area for understanding the impact of LULC change on PMF and sedimentation rates. Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) is used for simulating stream flow (PMF) and the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) to estimate sediment yield over ORW as a result of change in precipitation intensity and LULC. Scenarios that represent pre-Owyhee dam (Pre-Dam) and post Owyhee dam (Non-Irrigation, Control, 1992, 2001, 2006) are used to simulate PMF’s and consequential sediment yield. Peak PMF result for Pre-Dam scenarios is found to increase by 26m3s-1 (1%) and 81m3s-1 (3%) from Non-Irrigation and Control scenario, respectively. Considering only LULC change, sediment yield decreased over ORW due to the transformation of LULC from grassland to shrubland (from Pre-Dam period to the post-Dam years). However, increase in precipitation intensity caused a significant (0.1% storage loss over 21days storm period) increase in sediment yield resulting in largely reservoir sedimentation. This study underscores the need to consider future impact of LULC change on IDF calculation as well as sedimentation rates for more robust reservoir operations and planning.