Roughness Effect on Velocity Distribution in Selected Reach of Shatt al-Arab River


Shatt al-Arab is the only navigational artery in Iraq, extending from the city of Qurna to its mouth in the Arabian Gulf at the city of Al-Fao within the governorate of Basrah for a length of approximately 204 km. Its width ranges from 400 m to 2000 m, and its depth ranges from 8 m to 20 m. The southern part of it, 93 km long from Umm al-Rassas Island to Ras al-Bisha, represents the international border between Iraq and Iran, where the Thalweg line represents the border between the two countries, which is the deepest point in the riverbed (according to the 1975 Algiers Agreement). The western bank (the Iraqi side) within the common border of Shatt al-Arab is subject to continuous erosion, which leads to the shifting of the Thalweg line towards Iraqi territory and thus leads to loss of Iraqi land to Iran. Reducing flow velocity along the Iraqi side can lead to reducing or preventing erosion in the river. Increasing the riverbed roughness will reduce the velocity of flow and then reducing the erosion. This principle was adopted in this study to investigate the effect of increasing roughness in a strip along a reach of the riverbed on the distribution of longitudinal velocity in cross-sections at the rest of the selected reach. A reach of Shatt al-Arab with a length of 2500 m, located 34 km north of Fao City, was selected to represent the study area. This reach was simulated by using numerical modeling CFD solver (fluent) with three different roughnesses for an upstream part of the river bed and the velocities compared with the natural (original) roughness of Shatt al-Arab. The results showed an appreciable effect of the increased bed roughness on the velocity distribution and the maximum velocity location by shifting it to the other side.