Hydrodynamic modelling of a tidal delta wetland using an enhanced quasi-2D model

Sjoerd J. Wester, Rafael Grimson, Priscilla G. Minotti, Martijn J. Booij (Corresponding Author), Marcela Brugnach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Knowledge about the hydrological regime of wetlands is key to understand their physical and biological properties. Modelling hydrological and hydrodynamic processes within a wetland is therefore becoming increasingly important. 3D models have successfully modelled wetland dynamics but depend on very detailed bathymetry and land topography. Many 1D and 2D models of river deltas highly simplify the interaction between the river and wetland area or simply neglect the wetland area. This study proposes an enhanced quasi-2D modelling strategy that captures the interaction between river discharge and moon tides and the resulting hydrodynamics, while using the scarce data available. The water flow equations are discretised with an interconnected irregular cell scheme, in which a simplification of the 1D Saint-Venant equations is used to define the water flow between cells. The spatial structure of wetlands is based on the ecogeomorphology in complex estuarine deltas. The islands within the delta are modelled with levee cells, creek cells and an interior cell representing a shallow marsh wetland. The model is calibrated for an average year and the model performance is evaluated for another average year and additionally an extreme dry three-month period and an extreme wet three-month period. The calibration and evaluation are done based on two water level measurement stations and two discharge measurement stations, all located in the main rivers. Additional calibration is carried out with field water level measurements in a wetland area. Accurate simulations are obtained for both calibration and evaluation with high correlations between observed and simulated water levels and simulated discharges in the same order of magnitude as observed discharges. Calibration against field measurements showed that the model can successfully simulate the overflow mechanism in wetland areas. A sensitivity analysis for several wetland parameters showed that these parameters are all influencing the water level fluctuation within the wetlands to varying degrees. The enhanced quasi-2D model has the potential to accurately simulate river and wetland dynamics for large wetland areas and help to understand their hydrodynamics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-326
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of hydrology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


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