Use of a Continuous Simulation, Process-based Model to Predict Sediment Inflow in Unsurveyed Reservoirs

Project ID: 8653
Principal Investigator: Joel Murray
Research Topic: Water Operation Models and Decision Support Systems
Funded Fiscal Years: 2015
Keywords: unsurveyed reservoir, sedimentation, geowepp, swat

Research Question

We propose to address the following research question:

1. Are continuous simulation, process-based models capable of predicting annual sediment inflow in unsurveyed reservoirs.

Need and Benefit

Expected lifetimes of reservoirs are affected by many factors, none more significant than sediment capture. Failure to measure or estimate sediment inflow has numerous detrimental effects including: loss of storage capacity, burial of outlet works and/or recreational facilities, downstream erosion and habitat loss. Regular surveys provide estimates of annual sediment inflow, however, surveys are labor intensive and expensive undertakings.

Currently the Bureau of Reclamation manages over 400 storage facilities, but only thirty percent have had resurveys conducted since initial filling. It may be possible to use hydrologic models to estimate sediment inflows based on watershed size, sediment mobility and wildfire susceptibility. This will provide a reasonable estimate of sedimentation rates for unsurveyed reservoirs that will aid in the development of reservoir sedimentation strategies, mitigating the detrimental effects of unaccounted sediment deposition.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Bureau of Reclamation Review

The following documents were reviewed by experts in fields relating to this project's study and findings. The results were determined to be achieved using valid means.

Use of a Continuous Simulation, Process-based Model to Predict Sediment Inflow in Unsurveyed Reservoirs (final, PDF, 1.6MB)
By Joel Murray
Publication completed on September 30, 2015

Multiple continuous simulation, process-based models were evaluated to determine their efficacy for predicting annual sediment inflow in unsurveyed reservoirs. Preliminary results from SWAT2005 indicate that the model is capable of reasonably estimating sedimentation volumes; however, further model calibration is necessary.

The following documents were not reviewed. Statements made in these documents are those of the authors. The findings have not been verified.

Tracking Sediment Inflow Into Reclamation's Reservoirs (final, PDF, 369KB)
By Joel Murray (PI)
Publication completed on September 30, 2016

This bulletin summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.


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Last Updated: 4/4/17