Articles | Volume 15, issue 4
Research article
27 Apr 2011
Research article |  | 27 Apr 2011

Process-based distributed modeling approach for analysis of sediment dynamics in a river basin

M. A. Kabir, D. Dutta, and S. Hironaka

Abstract. Modeling of sediment dynamics for developing best management practices of reducing soil erosion and of sediment control has become essential for sustainable management of watersheds. Precise estimation of sediment dynamics is very important since soils are a major component of enormous environmental processes and sediment transport controls lake and river pollution extensively. Different hydrological processes govern sediment dynamics in a river basin, which are highly variable in spatial and temporal scales. This paper presents a process-based distributed modeling approach for analysis of sediment dynamics at river basin scale by integrating sediment processes (soil erosion, sediment transport and deposition) with an existing process-based distributed hydrological model. In this modeling approach, the watershed is divided into an array of homogeneous grids to capture the catchment spatial heterogeneity. Hillslope and river sediment dynamic processes have been modeled separately and linked to each other consistently. Water flow and sediment transport at different land grids and river nodes are modeled using one dimensional kinematic wave approximation of Saint-Venant equations. The mechanics of sediment dynamics are integrated into the model using representative physical equations after a comprehensive review. The model has been tested on river basins in two different hydro climatic areas, the Abukuma River Basin, Japan and Latrobe River Basin, Australia. Sediment transport and deposition are modeled using Govers transport capacity equation. All spatial datasets, such as, Digital Elevation Model (DEM), land use and soil classification data, etc., have been prepared using raster "Geographic Information System (GIS)" tools. The results of relevant statistical checks (Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency and R–squared value) indicate that the model simulates basin hydrology and its associated sediment dynamics reasonably well. This paper presents the model including descriptions of the various components and the results of its application on two case study areas.