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Channel Adjustments in Iranian Rivers: A Review

Department of Physical Geography, School of Earth Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran 1983969411, Iran
Department of Geosciences, University of Padova, 35131 Padova, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(4), 672;
Received: 5 March 2019 / Revised: 20 March 2019 / Accepted: 26 March 2019 / Published: 31 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Hydrology)
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Channel adjustments in Iranian rivers have been intense over the last decades due to natural and human factors. Iran has six major basins, all with different climates, from very humid to very arid. This work is a review of the available studies and data about channel adjustments in Iranian rivers, and aims to reconstruct a first outline, at a national scale, of types, magnitude, and causes of adjustments. The results show that most of the rivers have undergone incision (1 to 2 m and, in some cases, up to 6 to 7 m) and narrowing (from 19% to 73%), although widening (from 22% to 349%) has occurred in some rivers. Narrowing is due to dams and sediment mining; widening is due to climate change and sediment mining. Incision is due to gravel and sand mining, dams, channelization, with in-channel mining being the main cause of incision. Channel adjustments have occurred in basins with different climates, but it seems that widening has been more intense in arid and semi-arid climates. Such adjustments have several negative effects (e.g., damage to bridges, degradation of river ecosystems, and instability of banks). The comparison between Iran and other countries shows that narrowing and incision have been the dominant processes in most of the rivers, while damming and in-channel mining have been used as the main controlling factors. Data about adjustments in Iranian rivers are neither homogeneous nor complete for all the rivers. This lack of completeness implies that our understanding of channel changes, and their causes, should be improved by further investigation. View Full-Text
Keywords: channel adjustments; incision; narrowing; human interventions; Iranian rivers channel adjustments; incision; narrowing; human interventions; Iranian rivers

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Khaleghi, S.; Surian, N. Channel Adjustments in Iranian Rivers: A Review. Water 2019, 11, 672.

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