Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2020, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (5): 823-842.doi: 10.1007/s11442-020-1757-0

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Analysis of critical river discharge for saltwater intrusion control in the upper South Branch of the Yangtze River Estuary

SUN Zhaohua1, FAN Jiewei1, YAN Xin1, XIE Cuisong2   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering Science, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China
    2. Shanghai Water Affairs Bureau, Shanghai 200050, China
  • Received:2019-12-02 Accepted:2020-01-22 Online:2020-05-25 Published:2020-07-25
  • About author:Sun Zhaohua (1976–), Associate Professor, E-mail: zhsun@whu.edu.cn
  • Supported by:
    National Key Research and Development Program of China(2018YFC0407802);National Major Scientific and Technological Program for Water Pollution Control and Treatment(2014ZX07104-005)

Abstract:

Saltwater intrusion in the estuary area threatens the use of freshwater resources. If river discharge increases to a critical value, then saltwater intrusion frequency and salinity level decreases. In this study, long-term river discharge and tidal range data in the Yangtze River Estuary (YRE) and salinity data obtained in the upper South Branch of the YRE were used to analyze the characteristics of different variables and the basic law of their interactions. Two methods, namely, the material analysis method and empirical models, were applied to determine the critical river discharge for saltwater intrusion control. Results are as follows: (1) the salinity might exceed the drinking water standard of China when the river discharge was less than 30,000 m3/s. Approximately 69% of salinity excessive days occurred when the river discharge was less than 15,000 m3/s; (2) the tidal range in the YRE roughly varied in sinusoidal pattern with a 15-day cycle length. Exponential relationship existed between daily salinity (chlorinity) and daily mean tidal range. Combining these two features with the cumulative frequency statistics of tidal ranges, it was showed that notable saltwater intrusion occurred when the tidal range was more than 2.7 m at Qinglonggang station. Moreover, the critical discharge was found to be slightly higher than 11,000 m3/s; (3) various of empirical models for salinity prediction could be chosen to calculate the critical discharge. The values obtained by different models were in the range of 11,000-12,000 m3/s; (4) the proposed critical discharge to reduce notable saltwater intrusion was 11,500 m3/s. After the Three Gorges Reservoir operation, the minimum river discharge into the YRE in 2008-2017 was below the critical discharge, thereby suggesting an increase in the minimum river discharge by reservoir regulation in drought periods.

Key words: critical discharge, saltwater intrusion control, empirical model, the Yangtze River Estuary