Assessment of sediment yield and deposition in a dry reservoir using field observations, RUSLE and remote sensing: Wadi Assarin, Oman

Mahmood M. Al-Mamari*, Sameh A. Kantoush, Tahani M. Al-Harrasi, Ali Al-Maktoumi, Karim I. Abdrabo, Mohamed Saber, Tetsuya Sumi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Soil erosion, sediment yield, and sediment transport associated with flash flooding in arid regions result in reservoir storage losses, decreased infiltration, high evaporation rates, and degradation of downstream channels. However, the lack of observational data from wadi systems and an empirical formula to compute sediment yield has hindered reservoir trapping evaluation, maintenance, and management. Therefore, this research aimed to estimate the annual soil loss in the upstream catchment area of a reservoir based on the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) with a remote sensing dataset. The sediment trapped in the Assarin Dam reservoir in Oman was estimated by coupling unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) surveys with photogrammetry analysis to assess the reservoir siltation. Among the previous sediment trapping events, seven sets of field observation data were collected to investigate the relationship between soil loss at the catchment scale and sediment deposition volumes in the reservoir. The RUSLE method was applied to estimate soil erosion using independent factors such as rainfall erosivity, soil erodibility, topography, cover management and conservation practices. A remote sensing dataset and geographic information system (GIS) environments were used to analyse the quantitative and spatial distribution of the RUSLE parameters. Two drone surveys were conducted over the reservoir before and after a flash flood. The trapped sediment volume was estimated to be approximately 9,075 m3 (11,343 ton) per event, representing approximately 1.26 % of the total reservoir capacity. This computed volume was validated using measurements from monitored sediment scale bars sited throughout the Assarin Dam reservoir, yielding an accuracy of 79 %. From the RUSLE results, the annual soil erosion was estimated to be 196,599 ton/ha yr−1, of which approximately 5.8 % was trapped in the reservoir. Spatial-temporal variability in the rainfall patterns and the corresponding runoff discharges led to high sediment delivery at the outlet of the basin. After analysing available data from previous field surveys in Oman, a new formula for estimating the sediment yield in Wadi Assarin was developed. The results of this research, which represent the first of their type in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, can support reservoir management practices and show that UAV-based photogrammetry is suitable for measuring trapped sediment volumes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number128982
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • Arid region
  • Reservoir
  • Sediment delivery ratio
  • Sedimentation
  • UAV
  • Wadi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology

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