EGU General Assembly 2020
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the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Quantitative assessment of check dam system impacts on catchment hydrological response - a case in the Loess Plateau, China

Tian Wang, Zhanbin Li, Jingming Hou, Shengdong Cheng, Lie Xiao, and Kexin Lu
Tian Wang et al.
  • Xi'an University of Technology, Water Resources and Hydroelectric Engineering, China (

The purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of check dams on catchment hydrological response in a small catchment on the Chinese Loess Plateau by applying a GAST (GPU Accelerated Surface-water and Transport model) numerical model at 2 m resolution DEM. The results showed that check dams significantly increase the so-called runoff lag times (lag to generation, lag to peak and lag to end of runoff) at the channel outlet compared to catchments without check dams. Furthermore, the peak runoff discharge at the catchment outlet without check dams decreased by 93.0% compared to with check dams. The total outlet discharge, surface water stored, and infiltration were respectively 20.1%, 74.9% and 5.0% of the total precipitation in the check dam catchment, while 75.4%, 22.6% and 2.0% in the system without check dams. Installation of check dams also altered the spatial water distribution of maximum discharge, moving the occurrences of maximum discharge further upstream and, thus, increasing safety downstream. Channel connectivity was found to have a direct relationship with peak discharge and with discharge volume at the basin mouth. In conclusion, implementing check dams significantly and effectively mitigated flood processes and increased runoff infiltration upstream.

How to cite: Wang, T., Li, Z., Hou, J., Cheng, S., Xiao, L., and Lu, K.: Quantitative assessment of check dam system impacts on catchment hydrological response - a case in the Loess Plateau, China, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-1232,, 2019


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  • CC1: Comment on EGU2020-1232, Guillaume Piton, 05 May 2020

    Thanks for this contribution! May I ask a couple of question?

    What is the time return of the rainfall event modelled please?

    Do you think that the magnitude of the event will significantly change the results? Like more extreme event would decrease the check dam efficacy?

    Last question, from the process point of view, is the delay related to an actual water storage in the check dam basins or is it more a general and widespread slowing down of flow in all the catchments? 

    Thanks in advance!

  • CC2: Comment on EGU2020-1232, Josep Fortesa Bernat, 05 May 2020

    Dear authors,

    Did you observed any difference in lag time due to seasonality or flood magnitude?

    Are these results published?