Forecasting manages impact of dredging

dredging DEME dredging at Doha Port. Image: DEME

A new service providing improved forecasting of sediment plumes caused by dredging will help ports better manage the environmental impact of this work.

HR Wallingford’s service predicts sediment dispersion several days in advance, enabling contractors to improve their ‘adaptive management’ of dredging works to help ensure that environmental objectives are hit. The response-based forecasting model has already been used successfully at Doha Port.

“Our service is unique because of the complexity of the inputs that it can handle, for example the service combines complex hydrodynamic modelling and meteorological forecasts with various details input about the dredging activities,” said Dr Jeremy Spearman, technical director at HR Wallingford.

By being able to better forecast dredged plumes, contractors can be more confident that work will not need to be unexpectedly stopped or re-located because of unanticipated risks to the environment.

Case study

As part of the preparations to host the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in 2022, Doha Port is working with DEME to widening its channels to accommodate large cruise ships.

Alberto Mino, DEME area manager – Middle East Gulf South, said: “The HR Wallingford Forecast Service has enabled us to minimise the impact of our dredging activities on the environment, and allowed us to demonstrate our commitment to meeting regulations to the Ministry of Environment.”

The new forecast service uses a calibrated TELEMAC 3D hydrodynamic flow model to forecast the associated currents taking into account predicted tidal and meteorological effects. These are then encapsulated into HR Wallingford’s SEDPLUME model combined with dredging information to model the dispersion of the sediment plume.

HR Wallingford issues a forecast report to the contractor showing the spatial and temporal variation of the multiple plumes generated by different plant dredging and disposing over the forecast period. The forecast is updated every three days.

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