Abstract

Ratings curves are commonly used for computing discharge time series from recorded water stages or for hydrograph and sediment graph routing through detention ponds. Numerous studies have demonstrated that these rating curves are often linked with significant uncertainty. Nevertheless, the uncertainty related to the use of these rating curves in sediment estimates has not been investigated so far. Hence, in this work, we assess the impact of using such uncertain discharge rating curves on the estimation of the pond outflow (discharge, sediment concentration and load) from a small detention pond located in a small urban catchment in Poland. Our results indicate that the uncertainty in rating curves has a huge impact on estimates of discharge and sediment fluxes in the outlet from the reservoir, wherein the uncertainty in the inlet rating curve plays a more important role than the uncertainty in the outlet rating curve. Poorly estimated rating curve(s) may thus lead to serious errors and biased conclusions in the estimates and designs of detention ponds. To reduce this uncertainty, more efforts should be made to construct the rating curves at the pond inlet and to gather more data in extreme conditions.

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