Efficacy of Longitudinal Training Walls to Mitigate Riverbed Erosion

Matthew J. Czapiga, A. Blom, Enrica Viparelli

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The Waal Branch of the Rhine River has eroded over the last 150 years following channel straightening and narrowing. In 2014–2015 a pilot project replaced existing groynes over an 11 km long reach with three longitudinal training walls (LTWs) to mitigate channel bed erosion, among other purposes. Walls are lower than the river bank and split the flow between a primary and an auxiliary channel, which are hydraulically connected during floods. Water enters the auxiliary channel at three elevations (from bottom to top): via an entrance weir, through inter-wall notches, and over the wall. Bathymetry and discharge data were collected for 5 years after construction, which is a first indication that longitudinal dams can help mitigate channel bed erosion and analyzed to understand how the walls partition water and sediment and whether erosion is mitigated by LTWs. As the river discharge increases, a larger fraction of flow is diverted from the primary channel into the auxiliary channel. After a flood, sediment is deposited in the primary channel near the upstream end of each wall and localized scour occurs where the auxiliary channel rejoins the primary channel. Between floods, the accumulated sediment disperses and scour pits tend to fill. We observe a net-accumulation of sediment in the study domain 5 years after construction. Erosion is best mitigated when weir flow is minimized to keep bed material in the primary channel, but weir flow remains important at lower flows for ecological purposes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2022WR033072
Number of pages12
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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