Along the middle reaches of the Dnieper River in central Ukraine, braided riverbeds with many islands have developed in alluvial valleys. In the 1970s, six dams were commissioned, and respective monitoring infrastructure was installed. Riverbanks and valley floors composed of unconsolidated material have much lower bank strengths and are susceptible to fluvial erosion and bank collapse, particularly during the release of high flow volumes from hydropower dams. The regulation of the Dnieper River along a cascade of storage reservoirs caused significant changes in its active river channel and hydrological regime. In order to estimate channel stability downstream of the Kaniv reservoir, we conducted an analysis of the hydraulic conditions in terms of changes in flow velocity and propagation of waves caused by intervention water discharges from the Kaniv Hydroelectric Power Plant (HPP). In this paper, we assess the hydromorphological parameters of the studied river reach as well as the characteristics of the related erosion and deposition zones. Therefore, a monitoring framework for channel processes (MCP) downstream of the Kaniv HPP was installed. The analysis of the intervention discharge parameters was conducted based on measurements from July 2015. Channel stability was expressed by the following factors: Lohtin's number (L), Makkaveev's (Kc) factor of stability, and a complex index of stability (Mx) by Grishanin. This study shows that the velocity of artificial wave propagation may reach a speed of up to 74.4 kmh-1. The wave propagates for a distance of approx. 45 km within 65 min at a mean velocity of 37.4 kmh-1. The L, Kc, and Mx indicators used in this work showed that when water discharge increased (e.g., during typical peak-capacity operation), the channel becomes unstable and sediments are subject to erosion processes. The riverbed stability indicators clearly illustrate that an increase in parameter values is not dependent on the distance to the dam. The results are valuable for sustainable sediment management at catchment scale and hence, directly applicable in water management.
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