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Estimating reservoir sedimentation rates at large spatialand temporal scales: A case study of California

J. Toby Minear , G. Matt Kondolf, | December 25, 2009
Summary
Previous reservoir sedimentation models have ignored two key factors for large spatial and temporal modeling of multiple reservoirs: trapping by upstream dams and decreasing sediment trapping as reservoirs fill. We developed a spreadsheet-based model that incorporates both factors. Using California as a case study, we used measured sedimentation rates to estimate sediment yields for distinct geomorphic regions and applied those rates to unmeasured reservoirs by region. Statewide reservoirs have likely filled with 2.1 billion mof sediment to date, decreasing total reservoir capacity by 4.5%. About 200 reservoirs have likely lost more than half their initial capacity to sedimentation.

Product Description

Previous reservoir sedimentation models have ignored two key factors for large spatial and temporal modeling of multiple reservoirs: trapping by upstream dams and decreasing sediment trapping as reservoirs fill. We developed a spreadsheet-based model that incorporates both factors. Using California as a case study, we used measured sedimentation rates to estimate sediment yields for distinct geomorphic regions and applied those rates to unmeasured reservoirs by region. Statewide reservoirs have likely filled with 2.1 billion mof sediment to date, decreasing total reservoir capacity by 4.5%. About 200 reservoirs have likely lost more than half their initial capacity to sedimentation.
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Keywords:

flood control, sediment, storage