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Spatial and inter-annual variability of specific sediment yield: case of hillside reservoirs in Central Tunisia

Abstract : Water erosion is the major process responsible for soil loss in Central Tunisia. It represents a main risk of sedimentation which threatens the lifetime of water and soil conservation works in the region, such as hillside reservoirs. This paper focuses on the study of spatial and inter-annual variability of specific sediment yield (SSY) estimated from sediment yield (SY) of 23 small watersheds of hill reservoirs located in the Tunisian Dorsal and the Cap Bon regions. The calculated values of mean inter-annual specific sediment yield varied from 180 to 3298 t/km2/year, over a period of 12 years (from 1994 to 2006). The selected catchments were classified into three groups according to their SSY data. The SSY map, elaborated with a geographical information system (GIS), showed an important spatial variability between watersheds of the same group. Moreover, analyses of the coefficient of variation (CV) showed that 70% of the considered sites demonstrate a tendency to moderate and high inter-annual variability of SSY. In order to identify the principal factors governing variability of erosion and sedimentation, a multiple regression analysis was carried out using nine parameters characterizing morphology, topography, land cover, climate and protection works of the 23 considered sites. The generated model revealed that 85% of SSY variability is correlated to seven principal factors, which are drainage area (A), rainfall intensity recorded in 30 min (I 30), percentage of water and soil conservation works, percentage of clay and carbonate in soils, vegetation land cover, overall slope index (I G) and rainfall amount (R a). The obtained SSY results were compared to others cited in a large bibliographical synthesis of studies carried out at the planet scale. We deduced that the SSY values obtained in this study are among the relatively high series in the world. The high variability of specific erosion rates in Central Tunisia is believed to be related to the semi-arid climate, characterized by the irregularity and the severity of storms and the spatial and temporal variability of other multiple factors affecting erosion processes.
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Submitted on : Thursday, January 17, 2019 - 9:23:54 AM
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Dhouha Ben Othman, Imen Ayadi, Habib Abida, Benoît Laignel. Spatial and inter-annual variability of specific sediment yield: case of hillside reservoirs in Central Tunisia. Bulletin of Engineering Geology and the Environment, Springer Verlag, 2018, 77 (1), pp.141-152. ⟨10.1007/s10064-016-0976-1⟩. ⟨hal-01984465⟩



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