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Computation of backwater and discharge at width constrictions of heavily vegetated flood plains

Water-Resources Investigations Report 76-129

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Abstract

The U.S. Geological Survey, cooperated with the Federal Highway Administration and the State Highway Departments of Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana, to develop a proposed method for computing backwater and discharge at width constrictions of heavily vegetated flood plains. Data were collected at 20 single opening sites for 31 floods. Flood-plain width varied from 4 to 14 times the bridge opening width. The recurrence intervals of peak discharge ranged from a 2-year flood to greater than a 100-year flood, with a median interval of 6 years. Measured backwater ranged from 0.39 to 3.16 feet. Backwater computed by the present standard Geological Survey method averaged 29 percent less than the measured, and that computed by the currently used Federal Highway Administration method averaged 47 percent less than the measured. Discharge computed by the Survey method averaged 21 percent more then the measured. Analysis of data showed that the flood-plain widths and the Manning 's roughness coefficient are larger than those used to develop the standard methods. A method to more accurately compute backwater and discharge was developed. The difference between the contracted and natural water-surface profiles computed using standard step-backwater procedures is defined as backwater. The energy loss terms in the step-backwater procedure are computed as the product of the geometric mean of the energy slopes and the flow distance in the reach was derived from potential flow theory. The mean error was 1 percent when using the proposed method for computing backwater and 3 percent for computing discharge. (Woodard-USGS)

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Computation of backwater and discharge at width constrictions of heavily vegetated flood plains
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
76-129
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1977
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey, Gulf Coast Hydroscience Center, National Space Technology Laboratories,
Description:
viii, 64 p. :ill. ;28 cm.