An Analysis of Channel Bank Erosion and Development of a Catchment Sediment Budget Model
Janes, Victoria Jennifer Julie
Date: 13 December 2013
University of Exeter
PhD in Geography
Increased sediment loads within river catchments have well-documented detrimental effects on water quality and catchment management plans are required to address reduction and mitigation of these problems. In order to do this it is essential that tools are available that deliver reliable sediment generation data at appropriate temporal ...
Increased sediment loads within river catchments have well-documented detrimental effects on water quality and catchment management plans are required to address reduction and mitigation of these problems. In order to do this it is essential that tools are available that deliver reliable sediment generation data at appropriate temporal and spatial scales. Currently, most sediment generation models do not include bank erosion individually as a sediment source. Therefore, to enable improved accuracy in predictions of future sediment pressures under environmental change, explicit modelling of the rates of sediment production by the bank erosion is required to provide a more complete representation of the catchment sediment budget. In this study, an existing prototype national bank erosion index has been refined. Using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) digitised overlays, channel migration rates were calculated for several UK catchments. Relationships between the rate of channel bank erosion and factors controlling the rates of channel migration were investigated, including channel sinuosity, slope, upstream catchment area, and restriction of migration due to valley width. Significant correlations between bank erosion and sinuosity, upstream area and channel confinement were observed. The non-linear influence of channel planform geometry (curvature and sinuosity) on migration rates was further investigated using an existing meander migration model. A new bank erosion model was developed to incorporate the influence of both channel confinement and sinuosity. As the model incorporates the key physical controls on bank erosion, hence it is expected that it will have wide applicability in catchment- to national-scale bank erosion assessment. A computationally efficient catchment routing model was developed. Data output from a newly developed catchment overland sediment and runoff estimation model (ADAS APT) was used as input to the routing model. The newly developed bank erosion model and an existing floodplain sedimentation model were incorporated within the routing methodology to provide a catchment sediment budget model. The model was applied to the Exe catchment, Devon, UK and validated against observational data. Model estimations of annual sediment generation through bank erosion, sediment deposition on floodplains, and sediment load at the catchment outlet were within the range of observed values. The catchment sediment budget model developed in this thesis provides a more comprehensive representation of catchment sediment processes than existing alternative methodologies.
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