The role of gate operation in reducing problems with cohesive and non-cohesive sediments in irrigation canals

Shaimaa A. Theol*, Bert Jagers, F.X. Suryadi, Charlotte de Fraiture

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Sediments cause serious problems in irrigation systems, adversely affecting canal performance, driving up maintenance costs and, in extreme cases, threatening system sustainability. Multiple studies were done on the deposition of non-cohesive sediment and implications for canal design, the use of canal operation in handling sedimentation problems is relatively under-studied, particularly for cohesive sediments. In this manuscript, several scenarios regarding weirs and gate operation were tested, using the Delft3D model, applied to a case study from the Gezira scheme in Sudan. Findings show that weirs play a modest role in sedimentation patterns, where their location influences their effectiveness. On the contrary, gate operation plays a significant role in sedimentation patterns. Reduced gate openings may cause canal blockage while intermittently fully opening and closing of gates can reduce sediment deposition in the canal by 54% even under conditions of heavy sediment load. Proper location of weirs and proper adjusting of the branch canal's gate can substantially reduce sedimentation problems while ensuring sufficient water delivery to crops. The use of 2D/3D models provides useful insights into spatial and temporal patterns of deposition and erosion but has challenges related to running time imposing a rather coarse modelling resolution to keep running times acceptable.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2572
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • 2D/3D models
  • Delft3D
  • Gate operation
  • Gezira irrigation scheme
  • Weirs


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