JWARP  Vol.11 No.4 , April 2019
Development of River Rating Curves for Simple to Complex Hydraulic Structure Based on Calibrated HEC-RAS Hydraulic Model, in Kwale, Coastal Kenya
Abstract: Accurate and reliable river flow information is critical to planning and management for sustainable water resources utilization. Most of engineering activities related to hydrologic designs, flood, drought, reservoirs and their operations are heavily dependent on the river flow information derived from river rating curve. The rating curve for a given river section is normally developed from a set of direct stage-discharge measurements for different periods. This involves considerable labour, risk and resources, and presupposes a complex and extensive measuring survey. Extrapolating the rating curve beyond the measured range, as common in many cases, is fraught with errors and uncertainties, due to the complex hydraulic behaviour of the surface water profile in transition from section, channel, downstream and flood plain controls which are often poorly understood with direct measurements. Hydraulic modeling has recently emerged as one of the more promising methods to efficiently develop accurate rating curves for a river section with simple or complex hydraulic structures and conditions. This paper explores the use of a Hydraulic Engineering Center-River Analysis System (HEC-RAS) model to review and develop river rating curves for three hydrometric stations on two rivers in Kwale, coastal Kenya. The HEC-RAS models were set up based on topographical (cross section and longitudinal) survey data for the reaches and engineering drawings for the hydraulic structures commonly used as section controls for flow measurement. The model was calibrated under unsteady state conditions against measured stage-discharge data which were captured using a Velocity Current Meter (Valeport) and an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) for both low and high flow. The rating curves were extracted from model results and the uncertainty associated with each rating curve analyzed. The results obtained by the HEC-RAS model were satisfactory and deemed acceptable for predicting discharge across the stage range at each river section.
Cite this paper: Wara, C. , Thomas, M. , Mwakurya, S. and Katuva, J. (2019) Development of River Rating Curves for Simple to Complex Hydraulic Structure Based on Calibrated HEC-RAS Hydraulic Model, in Kwale, Coastal Kenya. Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 11, 468-490. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2019.114028.

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