Skip to main content
To KTH's start page To KTH's start page

Data preparation, hydrodynamic and contaminant transport shallow-water simulations of Lake Victoria

Time: Mon 2019-11-25 13.00

Location: Sahara, Teknikringen 10B, Stockholm (English)

Subject area: Land and Water Resources Engineering

Doctoral student: Seema Paul , Vatten- och miljöteknik

Opponent: Professor Felix Mtalo, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Supervisor: Professor Vladimir Cvetkovic, Vatten- och miljöteknik; Professor (em) Jesper Oppelstrup, Numerisk analys, NA; Professor (em) Roger Thunvik, Vatten- och miljöteknik

Export to calendar


This study explores shallow lake numerical hydrodynamic processes that support model development and validation, extreme events and effects of water circulation in Lake Victoria. Lake Victoria is the second largest freshwater lake in the world, and the largest in East Africa. It is the major freshwater reservoir and source for domestic, agriculture, industrial, fishery, and transport. The resources support livelihoods and ecosystem services for over 40 million people. The lake is severely affected by water quality degradation by pollution. This thesis aims at improving the understanding by following recommendation of the Lake Victoria Environment Management Project, Lake Victoria Basin Commission climate change adaptation strategy and action plan 2018-2023, Lake Victoria Basin Commission operational plan 2015-2020, and Lake Victoria Basin Commission report. These reports suggested detailed lake bathymetry survey, modelling of lake flow, study of lake hydrometeorological processes by modelling and simulation, to identify extreme weather events, assess water circulation effect, and study lake pollution near the shore. A numerical hydrodynamic model was built in the COMSOL Multiphysics (CM) software for assessing lake flows and water turn-over from river inflows which carry pollution. The work included the development of systematic methods for lake bathymetry that are relevant for lake numerical and hydrodynamic modelling. The hydrometeorological driven simulation model was employed to assess lake water balance, water circulation and soluble transport. Paper 1 creates a bathymetry from several methods and from several data sources, and a vertically integrated free surface flow model was implemented in CM. The model was used to investigate outflow conditions, mean velocities driven by river inflow, outflow, precipitation and evaporation. It is shown to be exactly conservative and give water level variation in reasonable agreement with measurements. The results indicate that the shallow water model is close to linear. An outflow model, linear in water level, predicts water level reasonable agreement with measurements. The findings suggest that the model should consider wind stress driven flow to provide more accurate lake flow behavior. Paper 2 performed an assessment of the hydro-meteorological processes and extreme weather events that are responsible for changing the characteristics of lake water balance, and changing streamflow variations, and lake transportation. We compare historical data over a long time with data from the model including water balance, sources of data uncertainty, correlations, extreme rain and inflow years, and seasonal variations. Solute loading and transportation was illustrated by tracing the water from the river inflows. The results indicate that the lake rainfall has a strong seasonal variation with strong correlations between tributary inflows and precipitation, and between lake outflow and water level. The tracer transport by mean flow is very slow. Flow increases somewhat in wet periods and is faster in the shallow Kenya lake zone than in the deeper Uganda and Tanzanian lake zones, where the major inflow, from the Kagera River, appears to strongly influence transportation.