Reservoir sedimentation and its effect on the environment are the most serious world-wide problems in water resources development and utilization today. As one of the largest water conservancy projects, the Three Gorges Reservoir (TGR) has been controversial since its demonstration period, and sedimentation is the major concern. Due to the complex physical mechanisms of water and sediment transport, this study adopts the Error Back Propagation Training Artificial Neural Network (BP-ANN) to analyze the relationship between the sediment flushing efficiency of the TGR and its influencing factors. The factors are determined by the analysis on 1D unsteady flow and sediment mathematical model, mainly including reservoir inflow, incoming sediment concentration, reservoir water level, and reservoir release. Considering the distinguishing features of reservoir sediment delivery in different seasons, the monthly average data from 2003, when the TGR was put into operation, to 2011 are used to train, validate, and test the BP-ANN model. The results indicate that, although the sample space is quite limited, the whole sediment delivery process can be schematized by the established BP-ANN model, which can be used to help sediment flushing and thus decrease the reservoir sedimentation.
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