Effects of storm runoff on the thermal regime and water quality of a deep, stratified reservoir in a temperate monsoon zone, in Northwest China

Tinglin Huanga, Xuan Li, H.H.M. Rijnaarts, J.T.C. Grotenhuis, Weixing Ma, Xin Sun, Jinlan Xu

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110 Citations (Scopus)


Jinpen Reservoir is a deep, stratified reservoir in Shaanxi province, located in a warm temperate zone of Northwest China. Influenced by a temperate monsoon climate, more than 60% of the annual precipitation is concentrated from late summer to autumn (July–September). In recent years, extreme rainfall events occurred more frequently and strongly affected the thermal structure, mixing layer depth and evolution of stratification of Jinpen Reservoir. The reservoir's inflow volume increased sharply after heavy rainfall during the flooding season. Large volumes of inflow induced mixing of stratified water zones in early autumn and disturbed the stratification significantly. A temporary positive effect of such disturbance was the oxygenation of the water close to the bottom of the reservoir, leading to inhibition of the release of nutrients from sediments, especially phosphate. However, the massive inflow induced by storm runoff with increased oxygen-consuming substances led to an increase of the oxygen consumption rate. After the bottom water became anaerobic again, the bottom water quality would deteriorate due to the release of pollutants from sediments. Heavy rainfall events could lead to very high nutrient input into the reservoir due to massive erosion from the surrounding uninhabited steep mountains, and the particulate matter contributed to most nutrient inputs. Reasonably releasing density flow is an effective way to reduce the amounts of particulate associated pollutants entering the reservoir. Significant turbid density flow always followed high rainfall events in Jinpen Reservoir, which not only affected the reservoir water quality but also increased costs of the drinking water treatment plant. Understanding the effects of the storm runoff on the vertical distributions of water quality indicators could help water managers to select the proper position of the intake for the water plant in order to avoid high turbidity outflow.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)820-827
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • oxygen-transfer
  • climate


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