Can Lumped Characteristics of a Contributing Area Provide Risk Definition of Sediment Flux?
Department of Irrigation, Drainage and Landscape Engineering, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Czech Technical University in Prague, Thakurova 7, 16629 Prague, Czech Republic
*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(6), 1787; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12061787
Received: 26 April 2020 / Revised: 11 June 2020 / Accepted: 20 June 2020 / Published: 23 June 2020
Accelerated soil erosion by water has many offsite impacts on the municipal infrastructure. This paper discusses how to easily detect potential risk points around municipalities by simple spatial analysis using GIS. In the Czech Republic, the WaTEM/SEDEM model is verified and used in large scale studies to assess sediment transports. Instead of computing actual sediment transports in river systems, WaTEM/SEDEM has been innovatively used in high spatial detail to define indices of sediment flux from small contributing areas. Such an approach has allowed for the modeling of sediment fluxes in contributing areas with above 127,484 risk points, covering the entire Czech Republic territory. Risk points are defined as outlets of contributing areas larger than 1 ha, wherein the surface runoff goes into residential areas or vulnerable bodies of water. Sediment flux indices were calibrated by conducting terrain surveys in 4 large watersheds and splitting the risk points into 5 groups defined by the intensity of sediment transport threat. The best sediment flux index resulted from the correlation between the modeled total sediment input in a 100 m buffer zone of the risk point and the field survey data (R2 from 0.57 to 0.91 for the calibration watersheds). Correlation analysis and principal component analysis (PCA) of the modeled indices and their relation to 11 lumped characteristics of the contributing areas were computed (average K-factor; average R-factor; average slope; area of arable land; area of forest; area of grassland; total watershed area; average planar curvature; average profile curvature; specific width; stream power index). The comparison showed that for risk definition the most important is a combination of morphometric characteristics (specific width and stream power index), followed by watershed area, proportion of grassland, soil erodibility, and rain erosivity (described by PC2).