Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2021, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (11): 1615-1632.doi: 10.1007/s11442-021-1914-0

• Special Issue: Fluvial and Geomorphological Features • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Adjustment of flood discharge capacity with varying boundary conditions in a braided reach of the Lower Yellow River

CHENG Yifei(), XIA Junqiang(), ZHOU Meirong, DENG Shanshan, LI Zhiwei   

  1. State Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering Science, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China
  • Received:2021-03-01 Accepted:2021-08-14 Online:2021-11-25 Published:2022-01-25
  • Contact: XIA Junqiang;
  • About author:Cheng Yifei (1997-), PhD Candidate; specialized in hydraulics and river dynamics. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(51725902);National Natural Science Foundation of China(51579186)


It is of necessity to investigate the adjustment of flood discharge capacity in the Lower Yellow River (LYR) because of its profound importance in sediment transport and flood control decision-making, and additionally its magnitude is influenced by the channel and upstream boundary conditions, which have significantly varied with the ongoing implementation of soil and water conservation measures in the Loess Plateau and the operation of the Xiaolangdi Reservoir. The braided reach between two hydrometric stations of Huayuankou and Gaocun in the LYR was selected as the study area. Different parameters in the study reach during the period 1986-2015 were calculated, covering bankfull discharge (the indicator of flood discharge capacity), the pre-flood geomorphic coefficient (the indicator of channel boundary condition), and the previous five-year average fluvial erosion intensity during flood seasons (the indicator of incoming flow and sediment regime*Functional linkages at scales of section and reach were then developed respectively to quantitatively demonstrate the integrated effects of channel and upstream boundary conditions on the flood discharge capacity. Results show that: (1) the reach-scale bankfull discharge in the pre-dam stage (1986-1999) decreased rapidly by 50%, accompanied with severe channel aggradation and main-channel shrinkage. It recovered gradually as the geometry of main channel became narrower and deeper in the post-dam stage, with the geomorphic coefficient continuously reducing to less than 15 m-1/2*2) The response of bankfull discharge to the channel and upstream boundary conditions varied at scales of section and reach, and consequently the determination coefficients differed for the comprehensive equations, with a smallest value at the Jiahetan station and a highest value (0.91) at reach scale. Generally, the verified results calculated using the comprehensive equations agreed well with the corresponding measured values in 2014-2015*3) The effect of channel boundary condition was more prominent than that of upstream boundary condition on the adjustment of bankfull discharge at the Jiahetan station and the braided reach, which was proved by a larger improvement in determination coefficients for the comprehensive equations and a better performance of geomorphic coefficient on the increase of bankfull discharge.

Key words: flood discharge capacity, channel boundary, flow-sediment regime, braided reach, Lower Yellow River