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Assessment of debris inputs from land into the river in the Three Gorges Reservoir Area, China

Abstract

Riverine debris in the Three Gorges Reservoir Area (TGRA) poses a threat to electricity generation, ship navigation, and water environment. Quantifying riverine debris inputs from land into the river is a foundation for modeling of the transport and accumulation of floating debris on the water surface in the TGRA. However, this has not been researched to date. In this study, debris inputs from land into the river in the TGRA were assessed according to the response relationship between debris inputs and surface runoff. The land-based debris inputs in the TGRA were estimated using simulated surface runoff which was simulated by the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model. Results showed that 15.32 × 106 kg of land-based debris was inputted into the main channel of the TGRA in 2015 which accounted for 9.74% of total debris inputs (the monitoring data of river-sourced and land-sourced debris inputs was 157.27 × 106 kg). Debris inputs varied seasonally and peaked in the summer season (July to September). Compared with monthly measured data, the average relative errors in 2015 were below 30%. In addition, areas with higher debris pollution inputs were mainly located in the upper section of the TGRA, between the Tang River Basin and the Long River Basin. The proposed method was tested and determined to be reliable; thus, it can be used to quickly estimate debris inputs from land into the river by surface runoff of the outlets in a river basin. Moreover, this method provides new insight into the estimation of land-based debris inputs into rivers.



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