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Dam Operation for Mitigating Ice Jam Flooding Risks under the Adjustment of River Channel-Forms: Implications from an Evaluation in the Ningxia-Inner Mongolia Reach of the Upper Yellow River, China

by Teng Su 1,2, Heqing Huang 1,2,*, Yuanyuan Zhou 1 and Guoan Yu 1,2
1
Key Lab. of Water Cycle and Related Land Surface Processes, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 11A Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China
2
College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(6), 1136; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11061136
Received: 4 April 2019 / Revised: 25 May 2019 / Accepted: 28 May 2019 / Published: 30 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydro-Geomorphological Understanding and Modeling)
Dam operation has been widely deployed to mitigate the risks of ice jam flooding, but it may result in a decrease in the discharging capacities of downstream river channels. The Ningxia-Inner Mongolia reach of the Huanghe River (Yellow River) has historically suffered numerous disasters caused by ice jam flooding, and three large dams have been jointly operated to mitigate such risks since 1968. Whilst the resultant significant increases in both the annual runoff and mean water temperature during the ice jam flooding seasons helped to shorten the freezing-up duration and reduce the thickness of the ice cover, a significant channel shrinkage occurred in the reach when the dam operation took place under the input of a relatively larger amount of sediment from the upstream. In the new flow regime that commenced in 2008, a detailed examination of the river channel-form adjustments and the resultant changes to the discharging capacities identified a slight increase in the discharging capacity of the channel along the entire study reach. This was mainly due to a significantly smaller amount of sediment load being carried by a slightly increased annual runoff. Whilst it was demonstrated that the dam operation was still an effective means for mitigating the risk of ice jam flooding in the Ningxia-Inner Mongolia reach under the new flow regime, care needs to be taken when the favorable flow-sediment condition changes. Furthermore, the effectiveness of the dam operation appeared to vary significantly at the channel sections of different planforms; thus, more detailed studies are required. View Full-Text
Keywords: ice jam flooding; dam operation; risk mitigation; river channel-form adjustment; Upper Yellow River ice jam flooding; dam operation; risk mitigation; river channel-form adjustment; Upper Yellow River
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Su, T.; Huang, H.; Zhou, Y.; Yu, G. Dam Operation for Mitigating Ice Jam Flooding Risks under the Adjustment of River Channel-Forms: Implications from an Evaluation in the Ningxia-Inner Mongolia Reach of the Upper Yellow River, China. Water 2019, 11, 1136.

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