A novel concept of suspended sediment (SS) routing through a small reservoir is proposed that relies on the particle properties in the reservoir inflow.
The SS routing through the reservoir is described following the single continuous stirred tank reactor concept with only one model parameter, the SS decay coefficient. This parameter is linked to the sediment settling velocity and water flow velocity. Hence, the model does not require a direct calibration with recorded data. This model was tested on a small reservoir in Warsaw, Poland, with seven storm events. Suspended sediment samples at the reservoir inflow and outflow were taken manually during the passage of flood flows at irregular intervals. The performance of the proposed method was verified with the approach when the model parameter is estimated directly from recorded events.
The parameter calculated based on particle properties was about 10 times higher than the corresponding parameter optimized from recorded SS events. Hence, there was a need to introduce a correction factor to accurately predict the effluent SS. This led to a high model performance for all events (Nash-Sutcliffe = 0.672 on average).
(i) The proposed SS routing model based on particle properties has been proven to accurately simulate SS in the reservoir outlet. (ii) Thus, the parameter can be estimated from the sediment settling velocity and water flow velocity, but the correction factor must be applied. (iii) Our findings acknowledge difficulties in describing SS routing through small reservoirs and indicate a lack of knowledge on the functioning of these reservoirs.