An analytical approach to the estimation of optimum river channel dimensions

Document Type : Article


1 River Engineering, Faculty of Civil, Water and Environmental Eng., Shahid Beheshti University. Tehran, Iran

2 Water and Environmental Eng., Shahid Beheshti University. Tehran, Iran


Extremal hypotheses without bank stability constraint typically over-predict and under-predict channel width in large rivers and natural streams, respectively. In general, results obtained from unconstrained extremal hypotheses are indicative of inappropriate agreement between predicted and observed dimensions of the rivers. One of the important factors in disparity of the data may be lack of appropriate relationships to assess bank vegetation of the rivers. For this reason, a modified analytical model has been developed to reduce the effect of bias by considering bank stability and vegetation. The model takes into account channel shape factor, a wide range of bed load equations in the form excess shear stress and vegetation quantification is able to predict optimal channel geometry dimensions. Finally, developed model was calibrated using the field data of the United Kingdom and Iran. In addition to indicating the effect of bank stability and vegetation on estimation of the geometric characteristics of the channel, obtained results also confirmed the efficiency of the constrained model in comparison to the unconstrained model. This study also provides support for the use of the concepts of maximum sediment transporting capacity and minimum stream power for understanding the operation of alluvial rivers.


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