University of Twente Student Theses


Analytical water table height approximation : restoration of tropical peatland hydrology on Central Kalimantan Labmath Indonesia

Noordermeer, J. (2010) Analytical water table height approximation : restoration of tropical peatland hydrology on Central Kalimantan Labmath Indonesia.

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Abstract:One of the most important instigators of peatland deterioration is the over-drainage as a result of planned agricultural production. A large amount of tropical peatland has been converted for palm oil, rubber and rice production. The Ex- Mega Rice Project in Indonesia in the province of Central Kalimantan is a prime example of tropical peatland deterioration as a result of ’unwise’ land-use. The drainage canals at that site greatly disturb the natural hydrological system. Low water tables result in oxidation and potential fires. Research shows that restoring the hydrological system of tropical peatlands is of primary importance to the restoration of the natural environments (Page et al., 2009). This research project focuses on the possible routes to restoring tropical peatlands through partially or completely damping canals in order to influence the hydrological system so that it returns to its natural state. A model was constructed in assignment of LabMath Indonesia to simulate water table changes in ombrogenous (rain fed) tropical peatland bounded by canals during periods of drought as a result of damping. There are very few input variables for this model, which allows the model to be broadly applied to tropical peatlands even when data is not readily available. Complete and partial damping was investigated by scaling the distance between canals or influencing the canal depth during simulation. From the various simulations it becomes apparant that completely or partially damping canals has a significant influence on the water retention capabilities of tropical peatland. This leads to a much slower water table drop thus slowing down the deterioration process. When one canal is damped in the tropical peatland analyzed a potential increase of water retention of 35% was achieved. When two more canals were damped this figure was increased to nearly 55%. Similarly, the water table height in the center of the peatland was investigated. By damping one canal the water table drop in the center of the peatland was reduced from 2.7 meters to 0.7 meters. Partial damping had a similar effect. By reducing the canal depth to half the original value, a 50% gain was achieved in the water table drop. The model used for this research shows that partial or complete damping of canals can have a significant influence on the restoration of tropical peatlands on Central Kalimantan. This is an expected result as these measures return the peatland to its natural physical state where no canals are present. However, it has to be recommended that the hydrological model used in this research paper is developed further. Various groundwater and surface water flows have been ignored due to the fact that the model simulates the water table in only one horizontal direction. The validity of the model can be increased by expanding the model to a second horizontal direction.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:56 civil engineering
Programme:Civil Engineering BSc (56952)
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