Channel Stability Analysis and Future Migration of Meandering Alazani (CATAMARAN)


It is known that channel migration and floodplain evolution are the results of many physical variables. The river Alazani flows on a low slope in its middle and downstream areas, where it forms a meandering bed. There is no bed erosion in these sections and the energy is directed towards the riverbank erosion. Lateral erosion is an active process and annually agricultural lands are eroded during the seasonal floods. River bends have been getting narrow in these sections, followed by cut-off processes. Four hydrological checkpoints had been gauged on the Alazani River since 1937. By the end of the 1980s daily water discharges, water level and temperature as well as sediment discharges had been gauged at the Shakriani checkpoint. Today on the river, there are automatic stations that measure the above parameters several times a year. Thus, the quantitative assessment of these processes is very interesting. The main goal of the project was to develop a GIS-based model that calculates the river migration process in the future through mathematical operations. This is quite a difficult and time-consuming process as it takes into account various natural and societal factors. This complex process involves geology, terrain, soil, climatic variables, hydrological regime, land use/land cover (LULC), and engineering activities in the river basin. Of course, there are different predictive models, some more sophisticated and justified, some less. Our main advantage was that our model will be completely customized to the GIS interface. In order to determine the river channel migration in the future, it is necessary to restore the picture of its past behavior as closely as possible. We had divided the process into several stages, initially starting with work on rainfall erosion and modeling the terrain of the study area. We worked with a team of researchers from RWTH Aachen University on climate data processing, including droughts, rainfall erosivity models, and digital terrain analysis.

Funding Advanced Research Opportunities Program (AROP)

Department of Geography RWTH Aachen, Department of Physical Geography and Climatology:

  • Mariam Tsitsagi, PhD
  • Prof. Dr. Michael Leuchner
  • Zaza Gulashvili, M.Sc.

TSU, Vakhushti Bagrationi Institute of Geography