Effective discharge calculation guide

David S. Biedenharn, Colin R. Thorne, Philip J. Soar, Richard D. Hey, Watson C. Chester

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents a procedure for calculating the effective discharge for rivers with alluvial channels. An alluvial river adjusts the bankfull shape and dimensions of its channel to the wide range of flows that mobilize the boundary sediments. It has been shown that time-averaged river morphology is adjusted to the flow that, over a prolonged period, transports most sediment. This is termed the effective discharge. The effective discharge may be calculated provided that the necessary data are available or can be synthesized. The procedure for effective discharge calculation presented here is designed to have general applicability, have the capability to be applied consistently, and represent the effects of physical processes responsible for determining the channel dimensions. An example of the calculations necessary and applications of the effective discharge concept are presented.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-459
JournalInternational Journal of Sediment Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


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