Suspended sediment dynamics in reservoirs and useful life of dams


Burdekin River in flood

We have studied the sediment trapping efficiency of the Burdekin Falls Dam, over several wet seasons, to examine siltation within the dam reservoir and to construct detailed ‘bulk’ suspended sediment export budgets for the Burdekin River. These data have been used to model sediment trapping for other reservoirs in the Great Barrier Reef catchments, to develop scenarios for future dam construction, and to predict the useful life of a reservoir. We have also examined the dynamics of sediment transport within the Burdekin Falls Dam to understand sediment transport, deposition and partitioning processes within the reservoir.

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Further Reading

Cooper, M. Lewis, S. Stieglitz, T. Smithers, S. In press. Variability of the useful life of reservoirs in tropical locations: A case study from the Burdekin Falls Dam, Australia. International Journal of Sediment Research.

Cooper, M. Lewis, S.E. Smithers, S.G. 2017. Spatial and temporal dynamics of suspended sediment causing persistent turbidity in a large reservoir: Lake Dalrymple, Queensland, Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research 68, 1377-1390.

Lewis, S.E. Bainbridge, Z.T. Kuhnert, P.M. Sherman, B.S. Henderson, B. Dougall, C. Cooper, M. Brodie, J.E. 2013. Calculating sediment trapping efficiencies for reservoirs in tropical settings: a case study from the Burdekin Falls Dam, NE Australia. Water Resources Research 49, 1017-1029.

Waters, D.K. Lewis, S.E. 2017. Calculating sediment trapping efficiency for reservoirs in series. In Syme, G., Hatton MacDonald, D., Fulton, B. and Piantadosi, J. (eds) MODSIM2017, 22nd International Congress on Modelling and Simulation. Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand, December 2017, pp. 1990–1996. ISBN: 978-0-9872143-7-9.


Dr Stephen Lewis

Phone: +61 7 4781 6629

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