Programme  OS3g Climate change: disasters and extreme events  abstract 297

Simulating hydraulic management of the Rhone delta under flood and sea surge conditions

Author(s): Philippe Chauvelon, Marc Pichaud, Alain Sandoz
Philippe Chauvelon Charge de recherche en hydrologie Unite Hydrosciences et Dynamiques Spatiales Fondation Sansouire Station Biologique de la Tour du Valat Le Sambuc 13200 Arles France Tel : 33 (0)4 90 97 20 13 Fax : 33 (0)4 90 97 20 19 chauvelo

Keyword(s): Rhone delta, floods, simulation tool, climatic change, lagoon

Article: abs297_article.pdf
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Session: OS3g Climate change: disasters and extreme events
AbstractThis work was

part of the IMPLIT project (“Impact of extreme events (storms and sea surges) linked to climatic change, on the

French coastal Mediterranean hydro-systems”) developed within the framework of the GICC program

(“Management and impact of climatic change”) (Ministry of Ecology and Sustainable Development).

objective of the Rhone delta hydrosystem modelling task was to analyse hydraulic management constraints of the “Ile

de Camargue” in extreme hydro-climatic conditions; to develop a simplified and adaptive simulation tool for

hydrologic and hydraulic functioning of the Vaccarès lagoon system, in order to provide decision support for flood

management and prospective. An analysis of existing hydro-climatic data was made (precipitations, wind, flood

discharges and management of Camargue drainage basins; Rhone river floods at Beaucaire, effects of wind on

lagoon water levels), in order to derive crisis scenarios used for simulations. After calibration and validation on

autumn-winter periods (September to March) 2003-2004 and 2005; simulations were made with a conceptual

model, combining observed data (wind, evaporation, sea level) and forcing by drainage hydrographs from the North

delta flooded area (1993 or 1994 flood event type). Impact of additional works: drainage pumping station on the

basin, increased capacity for discharge by gravity to the sea; with sea level rise, were also simulated, using scenarios

based on data from 1996-97, 2002 and 2003, corresponding to the last major floods of the Rhone river.

Statistical analysis of maximum annual discharge shows that the last strong flood of the Rhone river in 2003 may

have only a 50 year return period, revisiting former risk analysis knowledges. The simulations made with the

simplified model (developed with Vensim TM) show that in order to maintain water levels in the lagoon under 0,5 m

NGF less than 20 days after a flood, new management rules and hydraulic works must be made.

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