|Thesis abstract: |
While fluvial water resources are key to match ever-increasing water and renewable energy demands, the distribution of and human access to these resources are centrally controlled by the physical pattern (morphology) of fluvial channels. The massive construction of reservoirs in the last century increased water resource availability on the short-medium term, but also directly interfered with the sedimentologic processes that control river channel morphology with potential long-term negative feedbacks on the riverine equilibrium and the associated provision of eco-system services. Interruptions in sediment connectivity might induce, for example, a lowering of river bed and water table (incision) that impedes access to water resources, or a straightening in river channels that increases flood conveyance and related natural hazards. Yet, most of these potential feedbacks are seldom considered while planning the construction and/or designing the operation (control) of reservoir systems, mostly because of the high data dimensionality, strong non-linearities, and computational demand of common hydrodynamic models and the intrinsic variability in fluvial processes. My major Ph.D research strives to integrate complex feedbacks between anthropic activities and fluvial morphology into water resources planning and management strategies that are accordingly a) more accurate by dynamically and adaptively considering changing river morphology, and b) minimize overall morphologic change reducing environmental degradation and ultimately balancing it with other competing socio-economic targets of reservoir operation.