Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2018, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (12): 1975-1993.doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1575-9

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The relationship between water level change and river channel geometry adjustment in the downstream of the Three Gorges Dam

Yunping YANG1,2(), Mingjin ZHANG2, Zhaohua SUN1, Jianqiao HAN3,*(), Jianjun Wang2   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering Science, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China
    2. Key Laboratory of Engineering Sediment, Tianjin Research Institute for Water Transport Engineering, Ministry of Transport, Tianjin 300456, China
    3. Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University, Yangling 712100, Shaanxi, China
  • Received:2017-02-21 Accepted:2017-03-31 Online:2018-12-20 Published:2018-12-27
  • Contact: Jianqiao HAN E-mail:yangsan520_521@163.com;hjq13@163.com
  • About author:

    Author: Yang Yunping (1985-), PhD, specialized in estuary and coastal evolution and causes. E-mail: yangsan520_521@163.com

  • Supported by:
    National Key Research and Development Program of China, No.2016YFC0402106; National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.51579123, No.51579185, No.51339001; Supported by the Open Research Fund Program of State Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering Science, No.2016HLG02; Fundamental Research Funds for Central Welfare Research Institutes, No.TKS160103

Abstract:

In this study, data measured from 1955-2016 were analysed to study the relationship between the water level and river channel geometry adjustment in the downstream of the Three Gorges Dam (TGD) after the impoundment of the dam. The results highlight the following facts: (1) for the same flow, the low water level decreased, flood water level changed little, lowest water level increased, and highest water level decreased at the hydrological stations in the downstream of the dam; (2) the distribution of erosion and deposition along the river channel changed from “erosion at channels and deposition at bankfulls” to “erosion at both channels and bankfulls;” the ratio of low-water channel erosion to bankfull channel erosion was 95.5% from October 2002 to October 2015, with variations between different impoundment stages; (3) the low water level decrease slowed down during the channel erosion in the Upper Jingjiang reach and reaches upstream but sped up in the Lower Jingjiang reach and reaches downstream; measures should be taken to prevent the decrease in the channel water level; (4) erosion was the basis for channel dimension upscaling in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River; the low water level decrease was smaller than the thalweg decline; both channel water depth and width increased under the combined effects of channel and waterway regulations; and (5) the geometry of the channels above bankfulls did not significantly change; however, the comprehensive channel resistance increased under the combined effects of riverbed coarsening, beach vegetation, and human activities; as a result, the flood water level increased markedly and moderate flood to high water level phenomena occurred, which should be considered. The Three Gorges Reservoir effectively enhances the flood defense capacity of the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River; however, the superposition effect of tributary floods cannot be ruled out.

Key words: low water level, flood water level, riverbed adjustment, cause analysis, Three Gorges Dam, middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River