IAHR, founded in 1935, is a worldwide independent member-based organisation of engineers and water specialists working in fields related to the hydro-environmental sciences and their practical application. Activities range from river and maritime hydraulics to water resources development and eco-hydraulics, through to ice engineering, hydroinformatics, and hydraulic machinery.
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You are here : eLibrary : IAHR World Congress Proceedings : 36th Congress - The Hague (2015) ALL CONTENT : Special sessions : Human versus natural mud fluxes in the scheldt estuary: are they significant and if so, how can they...
Human versus natural mud fluxes in the scheldt estuary: are they significant and if so, how can they best be optimised?
The mud dynamics of the Scheldt estuary is governed by the interplay between tidal flow, freshwater discharge, marine
and fluvial mud supply and local sources and sinks. A question is how large human impacts are on these mud dynamics.
Using a process-based mud transport model of the Scheldt estuary, these impacts have been quantified by evaluating
different scenarios representative for present or alternative maintenance dredging procedures.
The results show that although the ¡®human¡¯ fluxes caused by maintenance dredging are typically small compared to
natural gross fluxes, they are very significant compared to natural residual fluxes, notably in the narrower section of the
estuary near Antwerp. Here more than half of the available mud is ¡®second-hand¡¯, i.e. it has been dredged from and
released back into the estuary at least once. This implies that an optimization of the dredging and release cycles, including
the smart selection of release locations, offers the perspective of smaller human impacts, possibly even at lower costs.
A down-estuary shift of release locations would be favourable. Also, locations closer tidal flats may contribute to
interrupting the vicious circle between dredged mud dispersion and maintenance dredging by enhancing the accretion rate
of these flats. However, the surface area of these flats has to be substantial to provide more than just a short-term
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Chapter : IAHR World Congress Proceedings
Category : 36th Congress - The Hague (2015) ALL CONTENT
Article : Special sessions
Date Published : 13/08/2015
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