Integrating Sediment Connectivity into Water Resources Management Trough a Graph Theoretic, Stochastic Modeling Framework.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Rafael J. P. Schmitt1, Andrea Castelletti1 and Simone Bizzi2, (1)Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy, (2)Joint Research Center Ispra, Ispra, Italy
Understanding sediment transport processes at the river basin scale, their temporal spectra and spatial patterns is key to identify and minimize morphologic risks associated to channel adjustments processes. This work contributes a stochastic framework for modeling bed-load connectivity based on recent advances in the field (e.g., Bizzi & Lerner, 2013; Czubas & Foufoulas-Georgiu, 2014). It presents river managers with novel indicators from reach scale vulnerability to channel adjustment in large river networks with sparse hydrologic and sediment observations.
The framework comprises three steps. First, based on a distributed hydrological model and remotely sensed information, the framework identifies a representative grain size class for each reach. Second, sediment residence time distributions are calculated for each reach in a Monte-Carlo approach applying standard sediment transport equations driven by local hydraulic conditions. Third, a network analysis defines the up- and downstream connectivity for various travel times resulting in characteristic up/downstream connectivity signatures for each reach. Channel vulnerability indicators quantify the imbalance between up/downstream connectivity for each travel time domain, representing process dependent latency of morphologic response. Last, based on the stochastic core of the model, a sensitivity analysis identifies drivers of change and major sources of uncertainty in order to target key detrimental processes and to guide effective gathering of additional data.

The application, limitation and integration into a decision analytic framework is demonstrated for a major part of the Red River Basin in Northern Vietnam (179.000 km2). Here, a plethora of anthropic alterations ranging from large reservoir construction to land-use changes results in major downstream deterioration and calls for deriving concerted sediment management strategies to mitigate current and limit future morphologic alterations.