As part of the LTV-SE project (Lange Termijn Visie Schelde Estuarium / Long-term view Scheldt Estuary), a new morphological schematisation of the Western Scheldt estuary was developed. The tidal flats and surrounding ebb and flood channels form morphological cells, and the entire multiple channel system was schematised as a chain of these cells. The concept allowed the theoretical assessment of the dumping capacity (of sand) of the channels: if more sediment is dumped, degeneration towards a one-channel system will occur. The cell concept was based on a stability analysis for individual cells and gross sediment transports through the channels.
The objective of the R&D project Inzicht in watersystemen: Westerschelde (Insight into water systems: Western Scheldt) was to further verify the assumptions underlying the approach as well as to improve the theoretical basis. The study shows that the dumping capacity is influenced by 1) the ebb or flood dominance of the channel, 2) the autonomous development (degrading or aggrading), 3) the exact dumping location and 4) the sediment exchange between the cells. The latter implies that the chain of cells should be considered integrally rather than individually. Furthermore, the theoretical basis of the approach was expanded to take the flood-ebb circulation into account. The methodology will be made operational in the coming years so that it may be used as a tool for the development and evaluation of new sustainable managerial strategies regarding fairway maintenance and sand mining in the Western Scheldt. Financed by (a.o.) Ministry of: Transport, Public Works and Water Management.
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