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Modelling streamflow and sediment yield on the lower Mgeni catchment.

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This study involves the application of the ACRU Agrohydrological Model to a selected study catchment in the Lower Mgeni Catchment, and its discretized subcatchments, immediately downstream of the Inanda Dam. This study was initiated on the assumption that the Inanda Dam, which came into operation in 1989, would have significant impacts on the downstream (Lower Mgeni) hydrology, geomorphology and ecology. The overall aim of this study, to set up and run the ACRU model for the delimited study catchment, was successfully accomplished. This aspect of the study involved firstly, the setting up of an input database for each distributed catchment within the catchment; secondly, the processes and techniques used to translate data into hydrological information; and finally the "running" of the hydrological model, which in turn "drives" the system and simulates the catchment hydrology. Specific objectives of the study entailed the simulation of hydrology, which focussed on simulated runoff and streamflow; and sediment yield responses of the subcatchments and the total study catchment of the Lower Mgeni, with respect to gross volumes and sediment yield rates produced. The streamflow results reported indicated a season of "Iow" flow, with a monthly flowrate ranging from 1155m3s-1 to 2735m3s-1 , from April to September; and is identified and distinguished from the period of "high" flowrate, ranging from approximately 483m3s-1 to 1747m3s-1 , for the remaining months of the year. The mean annual volume for the delimited subcatchment is 22 278.5 million m3 , exceeding the annual volume required to maintain riverine and estuarine ecology, which according to DWAF (1990) is 18.5 million m3 . The simulated results of sediment yield indicate that Subcatchment 3 and 4 have the lowest sediment yield rates of 32.3 t km-2 a-1 and 32.6 t km-2 a-1 , respectively. Subcatchment 2 has the highest yield rate at the value of 617 t km-2 a-1 , while subcatchment 1 has a rate of 53.2 t km-2 a-1 . Annual sediment production in the Lower Mgeni subcatchment is 10 855.1 tons per annum with respect to gross mass, resulting in a sediment yield rate of 73.8 t km-2 a-1 . The outcomes of this study compare very favourably with other studies conducted on hydrology and sediment yield, especially those undertaken within this geographical area. It may be assumed therefore, that the results produced herein can be applied with confidence to enable appropriate planning and management of resources within this catchment. Modelling of hydrology in the Lower Mgeni is expected to contribute significantly towards meeting riverine and estuarine ecological and geomorphological streamflow requirements. It would facilitate the development of an appropriate management and dam release strategy of Inanda Dam, in order to meet these requirements. The modelling of sediment yield is expected to contribute to the development of a sustainable sandwinning policy and strategy for the Lower Mgeni, as current extraction rates exceed the annual sediment production. Once the model has been applied to a selected catchment, it has the ability to consider different scenarios, providing an invaluable tool for planning. Based on the results of this study, the ACRU model may be applied, with confidence, to other similar ungauged catchments.


Thesis (M.Sc.)-University of Natal, Durban, 2001.


Theses--Marine and coastal management., Hydrology--KwaZulu-Natal--Umgeni River Watershed., Stream measurements--KwaZulu-Natal--Umgeni River., Streamflow--KwaZulu-Natal--Umgeni River., Sediment transport--KwaZulu-Natal--Umgeni River., River sediments--KwaZulu-Natal--Umgeni River.