WIT Press

Dynamics of suspended sediment flux on the rivers Bandon and Owenabue, Ireland


Free (open access)


Volume 9 (2014), Issue 6



Page Range

861 - 873

Paper DOI



WIT Press




Monitoring, analysis and modelling of suspended sediment transport in riverine systems has received much attention in recent decades. Quantitive analysis techniques have been applied to allow river basin managers to assess suspended sediment transport and its importance in transporting a range of pollutants including excess metals and nutrients, which negatively impact on aquatic systems. In this paper, an analysis of the suspended sediment flux (SSF) dynamics is presented for the small and medium sized catchments of the River Owenabue and the River Bandon, respectively. The results contribute to the filling of a research gap in an Irish context where SSF analyses at this scale have not previously been presented. River flow rate and turbidity data were collected on both rivers for one full year. Turbidity was found to be an excellent surrogate for suspended sediment
concentration on both rivers with r2 values greater than 0.87 found. The annual SSFs passing the gauging stations for the River Bandon and River Owenabue were found to be 6012 and 2635 tonnes, respectively. SSF analysis reveals that 85% and 92%, respectively, of the total annual flux was transported on the Rivers Bandon and Owenabue during the high flow storm-based events. SSFs were investigated at the seasonal, intra- and inter-event scales – the largest 10 SSF events were identified and analysed. Seasonally, most of the flux is delivered
in the winter months from October to March. At the intra-event scale, it was found that events of similar flow magnitude do not necessarily transport similar flux levels. Total fluxes were found to decrease for sequential events as a result of sediment exhaustion. At the inter-event scale, hysteresis is observed and analysed for
the identified events with clockwise hysteretic loops dominating implying that suspended sediment transport is generally supply limited, and that the primary sources of sediment are located near or within the river.


Fluxes, hysteresis, loads, storm events, suspended sediment, turbidity.