Hydraulic engineering

Hydraulic engineering as a sub-discipline of civil engineering is concerned with the flow and conveyance of fluids, principally water and sewage. One feature of these systems is the extensive use of gravity as the motive force to cause the movement of the fluids. This area of civil engineering is intimately related to the design of bridges, dams, channels, canals, and levees, and to both sanitary and environmental engineering.

Hydraulic engineering is the application of the principles of fluid mechanics to problems dealing with the collection, storage, control, transport, regulation, measurement, and use of water.[1] Before beginning a hydraulic engineering project, one must figure out how much water is involved. The hydraulic engineer is concerned with the transport of sediment by the river, the interaction of the water with its alluvial boundary, and the occurrence of scour and deposition.[1] "The hydraulic engineer actually develops conceptual designs for the various features which interact with water such as spillways and outlet works for dams, culverts for highways, canals and related structures for irrigation projects, and cooling-water facilities for thermal power plants." [2]

Hydraulic Flood Retention Basin
Hydraulic Flood Retention Basin (HFRB)
4602 - Bern - View from Kirchenfeldbrücke
View from Church Span Bridge, Bern, Switzerland
Riprap lining a lake shore

Fundamental principles

A few examples of the fundamental principles of hydraulic engineering include fluid mechanics, fluid flow, behavior of real fluids, hydrology, pipelines, open channel hydraulics, mechanics of sediment transport, physical modeling, hydraulic machines, and drainage hydraulics.

Fluid mechanics

Fundamentals of Hydraulic Engineering defines hydrostatics as the study of fluids at rest.[1] In a fluid at rest, there exists a force, known as pressure, that acts upon the fluid's surroundings. This pressure, measured in N/m2, is not constant throughout the body of fluid. Pressure, p, in a given body of fluid, increases with an increase in depth. Where the upward force on a body acts on the base and can be found by the equation:


ρ = density of water
g = specific gravity
y = depth of the body of liquid

Rearranging this equation gives you the pressure head p/ρg = y. Four basic devices for pressure measurement are a piezometer, manometer, differential manometer, Bourdon gauge, as well as an inclined manometer.[1]

As Prasuhn states:

On undisturbed submerged bodies, pressure acts along all surfaces of a body in a liquid, causing equal perpendicular forces in the body to act against the pressure of the liquid. This reaction is known as equilibrium. More advanced applications of pressure are that on plane surfaces, curved surfaces, dams, and quadrant gates, just to name a few.[1]

Behavior of real fluids

Real and Ideal fluids

The main difference between an ideal fluid and a real fluid is that for ideal flow p1 = p2 and for real flow p1 > p2. Ideal fluid is incompressible and has no viscosity. Real fluid has viscosity. Ideal fluid is only an imaginary fluid as all fluids that exist have some viscosity.

Viscous flow

A viscous fluid will deform continuously under to a shear force by the pascles law, whereas an ideal fluid doesn't deform.

Laminar flow and turbulence

The various effects of disturbance on a viscous flow are stable, transition and unstable.

Bernoulli's equation

For an ideal fluid, Bernoulli's equation holds along streamlines.

p/ρg + u²/2g = p1/ρg + u1²/2g = p2g + u2²/2g

Boundary layer

Assuming a flow is bounded on one side only, and that a rectilinear flow passing over a stationary flat plate which lies parallel to the flow, the flow just upstream of the plate has a uniform velocity. As the flow comes into contact with the plate, the layer of fluid actually 'adheres' to a solid surface. There is then a considerable shearing action between the layer of fluid on the plate surface and the second layer of fluid. The second layer is therefore forced to decelerate (though it is not quite brought to rest), creating a shearing action with the third layer of fluid, and so on. As the fluid passes further along the plate, the zone in which shearing action occurs tends to spread further outwards. This zone is known as the 'boundary layer'. The flow outside the boundary layer is free of shear and viscous-related forces so it is assumed to act like an ideal fluid. The intermolecular cohesive forces in a fluid are not great enough to hold fluid together. Hence a fluid will flow under the action of the slightest stress and flow will continue as long as the stress is present.[3] The flow inside the layer can be either viscous or turbulent, depending on Reynolds number.[1]


Common topics of design for hydraulic engineers include hydraulic structures such as dams, levees, water distribution networks, water collection networks, sewage collection networks, storm water management, sediment transport, and various other topics related to transportation engineering and geotechnical engineering. Equations developed from the principles of fluid dynamics and fluid mechanics are widely utilized by other engineering disciplines such as mechanical, aeronautical and even traffic engineers.

Related branches include hydrology and rheology while related applications include hydraulic modeling, flood mapping, catchment flood management plans, shoreline management plans, estuarine strategies, coastal protection, and flood alleviation.



Earliest uses of hydraulic engineering were to irrigate crops and dates back to the Middle East and Africa. Controlling the movement and supply of water for growing food has been used for many thousands of years. One of the earliest hydraulic machines, the water clock was used in the early 2nd millennium BC.[4] Other early examples of using gravity to move water include the Qanat system in ancient Persia and the very similar Turpan water system in ancient China as well as irrigation canals in Peru.[5]

In ancient China, hydraulic engineering was highly developed, and engineers constructed massive canals with levees and dams to channel the flow of water for irrigation, as well as locks to allow ships to pass through. Sunshu Ao is considered the first Chinese hydraulic engineer. Another important Hydraulic Engineer in China, Ximen Bao was credited of starting the practice of large scale canal irrigation during the Warring States period (481 BC-221 BC), even today hydraulic engineers remain a respectable position in China. Before becoming General Secretary of the Communist Party of China in 2002, Hu Jintao was a hydraulic engineer and holds an engineering degree from Tsinghua University

Rice Terraces Banaue
The Banaue Rice Terraces, they are part of the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, ancient sprawling man-made structures which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In the Archaic epoch of the Philippines, hydraulic engineering also developed specially in the Island of Luzon, the Ifugaos of the mountainous region of the Cordilleras built irrigations, dams and hydraulic works and the famous Banaue Rice Terraces as a way for assisting in growing crops around 1000 BC.[6] These Rice Terraces are 2,000-year-old terraces that were carved into the mountains of Ifugao in the Philippines by ancestors of the indigenous people. The Rice Terraces are commonly referred to as the "Eighth Wonder of the World".[7][8][9] It is commonly thought that the terraces were built with minimal equipment, largely by hand. The terraces are located approximately 1500 metres (5000 ft) above sea level. They are fed by an ancient irrigation system from the rainforests above the terraces. It is said that if the steps were put end to end, it would encircle half the globe.[10]

Eupalinos of Megara, was an ancient Greek engineer who built the Tunnel of Eupalinos on Samos in the 6th century BC, an important feat of both civil and hydraulic engineering. The civil engineering aspect of this tunnel was the fact that it was dug from both ends which required the diggers to maintain an accurate path so that the two tunnels met and that the entire effort maintained a sufficient slope to allow the water to flow.

Hydraulic engineering was highly developed in Europe under the aegis of the Roman Empire where it was especially applied to the construction and maintenance of aqueducts to supply water to and remove sewage from their cities.[3] In addition to supplying the needs of their citizens they used hydraulic mining methods to prospect and extract alluvial gold deposits in a technique known as hushing, and applied the methods to other ores such as those of tin and lead.

In the 15th century, the Somali Ajuran Empire was the only hydraulic empire in Africa. As a hydraulic empire, the Ajuran State monopolized the water resources of the Jubba and Shebelle Rivers. Through hydraulic engineering, it also constructed many of the limestone wells and cisterns of the state that are still operative and in use today. The rulers developed new systems for agriculture and taxation, which continued to be used in parts of the Horn of Africa as late as the 19th century.[11]

Further advances in hydraulic engineering occurred in the Muslim world between the 8th to 16th centuries, during what is known as the Islamic Golden Age. Of particular importance was the 'water management technological complex' which was central to the Islamic Green Revolution and,[12] by extension, a precondition for the emergence of modern technology.[13] The various components of this 'toolkit' were developed in different parts of the Afro-Eurasian landmass, both within and beyond the Islamic world. However, it was in the medieval Islamic lands where the technological complex was assembled and standardized, and subsequently diffused to the rest of the Old World.[14] Under the rule of a single Islamic Caliphate, different regional hydraulic technologies were assembled into "an identifiable water management technological complex that was to have a global impact." The various components of this complex included canals, dams, the qanat system from Persia, regional water-lifting devices such as the noria, shaduf and screwpump from Egypt, and the windmill from Islamic Afghanistan.[14] Other original Islamic developments included the saqiya with a flywheel effect from Islamic Spain,[15] the reciprocating suction pump[16][17][18] and crankshaft-connecting rod mechanism from Iraq,[19][20] the geared and hydropowered water supply system from Syria,[21] and the water purification methods of Islamic chemists.[22]

Modern times

In many respects, the fundamentals of hydraulic engineering haven't changed since ancient times. Liquids are still moved for the most part by gravity through systems of canals and aqueducts, though the supply reservoirs may now be filled using pumps. The need for water has steadily increased from ancient times and the role of the hydraulic engineer is a critical one in supplying it. For example, without the efforts of people like William Mulholland the Los Angeles area would not have been able to grow as it has because it simply doesn't have enough local water to support its population. The same is true for many of our world's largest cities. In much the same way, the central valley of California could not have become such an important agricultural region without effective water management and distribution for irrigation. In a somewhat parallel way to what happened in California, the creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) brought work and prosperity to the South by building dams to generate cheap electricity and control flooding in the region, making rivers navigable and generally modernizing life in the region.

Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) performed experiments, investigated and speculated on waves and jets, eddies and streamlining. Isaac Newton (1642–1727) by formulating the laws of motion and his law of viscosity, in addition to developing the calculus, paved the way for many great developments in fluid mechanics. Using Newton's laws of motion, numerous 18th-century mathematicians solved many frictionless (zero-viscosity) flow problems. However, most flows are dominated by viscous effects, so engineers of the 17th and 18th centuries found the inviscid flow solutions unsuitable, and by experimentation they developed empirical equations, thus establishing the science of hydraulics.[3]

Late in the 19th century, the importance of dimensionless numbers and their relationship to turbulence was recognized, and dimensional analysis was born. In 1904 Ludwig Prandtl published a key paper, proposing that the flow fields of low-viscosity fluids be divided into two zones, namely a thin, viscosity-dominated boundary layer near solid surfaces, and an effectively inviscid outer zone away from the boundaries. This concept explained many former paradoxes and enabled subsequent engineers to analyze far more complex flows. However, we still have no complete theory for the nature of turbulence, and so modern fluid mechanics continues to be combination of experimental results and theory.[23]

The modern hydraulic engineer uses the same kinds of computer-aided design (CAD) tools as many of the other engineering disciplines while also making use of technologies like computational fluid dynamics to perform the calculations to accurately predict flow characteristics, GPS mapping to assist in locating the best paths for installing a system and laser-based surveying tools to aid in the actual construction of a system.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f Prasuhn, Alan L. Fundamentals of Hydraulic Engineering. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston: New York, 1987.
  2. ^ Cassidy, John J., Chaudhry, M. Hanif, and Roberson, John A. "Hydraulic Engineering", John Wiley & Sons, 1998
  3. ^ a b c E. John Finnemore, Joseph Franzini "Fluid Mechanics with Engineering Applications",McGraw-Hill,2002
  4. ^ Gascoigne, Bamber. “History of Clocks”. History World. From 2001, ongoing. http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?groupid=2322&HistoryID=ac08&gtrack=pthc
  5. ^ "Qanats" Water History. From 2001, ongoing. http://www.waterhistory.org/histories/qanats/
  6. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20071201054321/http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Temple/9845/tech.htm
  7. ^ Filipinasoul.com.‘The Best’ of the Philippines - its natural wonders Archived 2014-11-05 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ National Statistical Coordinating Body of the Philippines. FACTS & FIGURES:Ifugao province Archived 2012-11-13 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ About Banaue > Tourist Attractions Archived 2008-12-14 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Department of Tourism: Ifugao Province Archived 2009-03-02 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed September 04, 2008.
  11. ^ The History of Somalia. p. 26. Retrieved 2014-02-14.
  12. ^ Edmund Burke (June 2009), "Islam at the Center: Technological Complexes and the Roots of Modernity", Journal of World History, University of Hawaii Press, 20 (2): 165–186 [174], doi:10.1353/jwh.0.0045
  13. ^ Edmund Burke (June 2009), "Islam at the Center: Technological Complexes and the Roots of Modernity", Journal of World History, University of Hawaii Press, 20 (2): 165–186 [168], doi:10.1353/jwh.0.0045
  14. ^ a b Edmund Burke (June 2009), "Islam at the Center: Technological Complexes and the Roots of Modernity", Journal of World History, University of Hawaii Press, 20 (2): 165–186 [168 & 173], doi:10.1353/jwh.0.0045
  15. ^ Ahmad Y Hassan, Flywheel Effect for a Saqiya Archived 2010-10-07 at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ Donald Routledge Hill, "Mechanical Engineering in the Medieval Near East", Scientific American, May 1991, pp. 64–9. (cf. Donald Routledge Hill, Mechanical Engineering Archived 2007-12-25 at the Wayback Machine)
  17. ^ Ahmad Y Hassan. "The Origin of the Suction Pump: Al-Jazari 1206 A.D." Archived from the original on 2008-02-26. Retrieved 2008-07-16.
  18. ^ Donald Routledge Hill (1996), A History of Engineering in Classical and Medieval Times, Routledge, pp. 143 & 150-2
  19. ^ Sally Ganchy, Sarah Gancher (2009), Islam and Science, Medicine, and Technology, The Rosen Publishing Group, p. 41, ISBN 1-4358-5066-1
  20. ^ Ahmad Y Hassan, The Crank-Connecting Rod System in a Continuously Rotating Machine Archived 2013-03-12 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ Howard R. Turner (1997), Science in Medieval Islam: An Illustrated Introduction, p. 181, University of Texas Press, ISBN 0-292-78149-0
  22. ^ Levey, M. (1973), ‘ Early Arabic Pharmacology’, E. J. Brill; Leiden
  23. ^ Fluid Mechanics

Further reading

  • Vincent J. Zipparro, Hans Hasen (Eds), Davis' Handbook of Applied Hydraulics, Mcgraw-Hill, 4th Edition (1992), ISBN 0070730024, at Amazon.com
  • Classification of Organics in Secondary Effluents. M. Rebhun, J. Manka. Environmental Science and Technology, 5, pp. 606–610, (1971). 25.

External links

Avulsion (river)

In sedimentary geology and fluvial geomorphology, avulsion is the rapid abandonment of a river channel and the formation of a new river channel. Avulsions occur as a result of channel slopes that are much less steep than the slope that the river could travel if it took a new course.

Detention basin

A detention basin or retarding basin is an excavated area installed on, or adjacent to, tributaries of rivers, streams, lakes or bays to protect against flooding and, in some cases, downstream erosion by storing water for a limited period of time. These basins are also called "dry ponds", "holding ponds" or "dry detention basins" if no permanent pool of water exists. Detention ponds that are designed to permanently retain some volume of water at all times are called retention basins. In its basic form, a detention basin is used to manage water quantity while having a limited effectiveness in protecting water quality, unless it includes a permanent pool feature.

Gatehouse (waterworks)

A gatehouse, gate house, outlet works or valve house for a dam is a structure housing sluice gates, valves, or pumps (in which case it is more accurately called a pumping station). Many gatehouses are strictly utilitarian, but especially in the nineteenth century, some were very elaborate.

A set of outlet works is a device used to release and regulate water flow from a dam. Such devices usually consist of one or more pipes or tunnels through the embankment of the dam, directing water usually under high pressure to the river downstream. These structures are usually used when river flow exceeds the capacity of the power plant or diversion capacity of the dam, but do not have flows high enough to warrant the use of the dam spillways. They may also be utilized when river flows must be bypassed due to maintenance work in the power station or diversion gates. Although similar in purpose to spillways, outlet works provide a more controlled release to meet downstream flow requirements.

A typical set of outlet works begins in an intake structure, which is usually a canal or intake tower. A regulating gate or valve controls water flow into the pipes of the outlet works, which discharge downstream into a stilling basin or directly into the river.

The inlets of the outlet works may consist of either gates or valves, or be composed of a more primitive system of stoplogs. Inlets may also contain a series of other devices for different purposes, including trash racks and fish screens.


A groyne (in the U.S. groin) is a rigid hydraulic structure built from an ocean shore (in coastal engineering) or from a bank (in rivers) that interrupts water flow and limits the movement of sediment. It is usually made out of wood, concrete or stone. In the ocean, groynes create beaches or prevent them being washed away by longshore drift. In a river, groynes slow down the process of erosion and prevent ice-jamming, which in turn aids navigation. Ocean groynes run generally perpendicular to the shore, extending from the upper foreshore or beach into the water. All of a groyne may be under water, in which case it is a submerged groyne. The areas between groups of groynes are groyne fields. Groynes are generally placed in groups. They are often used in tandem with seawalls. Groynes, however, may cause a shoreline to be perceived as unnatural.

The term is derived from the Old French groign, from Late Latin grunium, "snout".


Hydraulics (from Greek: Υδραυλική) is a technology and applied science using engineering, chemistry, and other sciences involving the mechanical properties and use of liquids. At a very basic level, hydraulics is the liquid counterpart of pneumatics, which concerns gases. Fluid mechanics provides the theoretical foundation for hydraulics, which focuses on the applied engineering using the properties of fluids. In its fluid power applications, hydraulics is used for the generation, control, and transmission of power by the use of pressurized liquids. Hydraulic topics range through some parts of science and most of engineering modules, and cover concepts such as pipe flow, dam design, fluidics and fluid control circuitry. The principles of hydraulics are in use naturally in the human body within the vascular system and erectile tissue.

Free surface hydraulics is the branch of hydraulics dealing with free surface flow, such as occurring in rivers, canals, lakes, estuaries and seas. Its sub-field open-channel flow studies the flow in open channels.

The word "hydraulics" originates from the Greek word ὑδραυλικός (hydraulikos) which in turn originates from ὕδωρ (hydor, Greek for water) and αὐλός (aulos, meaning pipe).


Hydropower or water power (from Greek: ὕδωρ, "water") is power derived from the energy of falling water or fast running water, which may be harnessed for useful purposes. Since ancient times, hydropower from many kinds of watermills has been used as a renewable energy source for irrigation and the operation of various mechanical devices, such as gristmills, sawmills, textile mills, trip hammers, dock cranes, domestic lifts, and ore mills. A trompe, which produces compressed air from falling water, is sometimes used to power other machinery at a distance.In the late 19th century, hydropower became a source for generating electricity. Cragside in Northumberland was the first house powered by hydroelectricity in 1878 and the first commercial hydroelectric power plant was built at Niagara Falls in 1879. In 1881, street lamps in the city of Niagara Falls were powered by hydropower.

Since the early 20th century, the term has been used almost exclusively in conjunction with the modern development of hydroelectric power. International institutions such as the World Bank view hydropower as a means for economic development without adding substantial amounts of carbon to the atmosphere,

but dams can have significant negative social and environmental impacts.

International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research

The International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research (IAHR), founded in 1935, is a worldwide, non-profit, independent organisation of engineers and water specialists working in fields related to the hydro-environment and in particular with reference to hydraulics and its practical application. IAHR was called the International Association of Hydraulic Engineering and Research until 2009.

Activities range from river and maritime hydraulics to water resources development, flood risk management and eco-hydraulics, through to ice engineering, hydroinformatics and continuing education and training. IAHR stimulates and promotes both research and its application, and by so doing strives to contribute to sustainable development, the optimisation of world water resources management and industrial flow processes. IAHR accomplishes its goals by a wide variety of member activities including: working groups, research agenda, congresses, specialty conferences, workshops and short courses; Journals, Monographs and Proceedings; by collaborating with international organisations such as UN Water, UNESCO, WMO, IDNDR, GWP, ICSU; and by co-operation with other water-related national and international organisations.

IAHR publishes several international scientific journals in collaboration with Taylor & Francis and Elsevier – the Journal of Hydraulic Research, the Journal of River Basin Management, the Journal of Water Engineering and Research, the Revista Iberoamericana del Agua RIBAGUA jointly with WCCE, the Journal of Ecohydraulics and theJournal of Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research with the Korean Water Resources Association. It also publishes a quarterly magazine called Hydrolink, together with several e-zines!.

The activities of IAHR are carried out by around one hundred volunteer elected officers from around the world supported by a full-time professional secretariat with offices in Madrid, Spain which is hosted by the consortium Spain Water (composed of CEDEX, Direccion General del Agua, Direccion General de Costas, MAPAMA, Spain), and in Beijing, China hosted by IWHR, and sponsored by Suez and Hydromodel.The governing body of the association is a council elected by member ballot every two years. The current president is Prof. Peter Goodwin (US). The current vice presidents are: Prof. Silke Wieprecht (Germany) (also chair IAHR Hydraulics), Dr. Arturo Marcano (Venezuela), and Prof James Ball (Australia). Dr. Ramon Gutierrez-Serret and Dr Peng Jing are secretary generals.

IAHR is a Scientific Associate of the International Council for Science (ICSU) and is a partner organisation of UN-Water.

The IAHR World Congress is one of the most important activities of the International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research (IAHR) which typically attracts between 800 and 1500 participants from around the world. The forthcoming world Congress will be in Panama in 2019.


Inundation (from the Latin inundatio, flood) is both the act of intentionally flooding land that would otherwise remain dry, for military, agricultural, or river-management purposes, and the result of such an act.

Journal of Hydraulic Engineering

The Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, formerly the Journal of the Hydraulics Division (1956–1982), is a peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Topics range from flows in closed conduits to free-surface flows (canals, rivers, lakes, and estuaries) to environmental fluid dynamics. Topics include transport processes involving fluids (multiphase flows) such as sediment and contaminant transport, and heat and gas transfers. Emphasis is placed on the presentation of concepts, methods, techniques, and results that advance knowledge and/or are suitable for general application in the hydraulic engineering profession.


A leat (also lete or leet, or millstream) is the name, common in the south and west of England and in Wales (Lade in Scotland), for an artificial watercourse or aqueduct dug into the ground, especially one supplying water to a watermill or its mill pond. Other common uses for leats include delivery of water for mineral washing and concentration, for irrigation, to serve a dye works or other industrial plant, and provision of drinking water to a farm or household or as a catchment cut-off to improve the yield of a reservoir.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, leat is cognate with let in the sense of "allow to pass through". Other names for the same thing include fleam (probably a leat supplying water to a mill that did not have a millpool). In parts of northern England, for example around Sheffield, the equivalent word is goit. In southern England, a leat used to supply water for water-meadow irrigation is often called a carrier, top carrier, or main.

Mill pond

A mill pond (or millpond) is a body of water used as a reservoir for a water-powered mill.


A piezometer is either a device used to measure liquid pressure in a system by measuring the height to which a column of the liquid rises against gravity, or a device which measures the pressure (more precisely, the piezometric head) of groundwater at a specific point. A piezometer is designed to measure static pressures, and thus differs from a pitot tube by not being pointed into the fluid flow.

Observation wells give some information on the water level in a formation, but must be read manually. Electrical pressure transducers of several types can be read automatically, making data acquisition more convenient.

Retention basin

A retention basin, sometimes called a wet pond, wet detention basin or stormwater management pond, is an artificial lake with vegetation around the perimeter, and includes a permanent pool of water in its design. It is used to manage stormwater runoff to prevent flooding and downstream erosion, and improve water quality in an adjacent river, stream, lake or bay.

It is distinguished from a detention basin, sometimes called a "dry pond", which temporarily stores water after a storm, but eventually empties out at a controlled rate to a downstream water body. It also differs from an infiltration basin which is designed to direct stormwater to groundwater through permeable soils.

Wet ponds are frequently used for water quality improvement, groundwater recharge, flood protection, aesthetic improvement or any combination of these. Sometimes they act as a replacement for the natural absorption of a forest or other natural process that was lost when an area is developed. As such, these structures are designed to blend into neighborhoods and viewed as an amenity.In urban areas, impervious surfaces (roofs, roads) reduce the time spent by rainfall before entering into the stormwater drainage system. If left unchecked, this will cause widespread flooding downstream. The function of a stormwater pond is to contain this surge and release it slowly. This slow release mitigates the size and intensity of storm-induced flooding on downstream receiving waters. Stormwater ponds also collect suspended sediments, which are often found in high concentrations in stormwater water due to upstream construction and sand applications to roadways.

River morphology

The terms river morphology and its synonym stream morphology are used to describe the shapes of river channels and how they change in shape and direction over time. The morphology of a river channel is a function of a number of processes and environmental conditions, including the composition and erodibility of the bed and banks (e.g., sand, clay, bedrock); erosion comes from the power and consistency of the current, and can effect the formation of the river's path. Also, vegetation and the rate of plant growth; the availability of sediment; the size and composition of the sediment moving through the channel; the rate of sediment transport through the channel and the rate of deposition on the floodplain, banks, bars, and bed; and regional aggradation or degradation due to subsidence or uplift. River morphology can also be effected by human interaction, which is a way the river responds to a new factor in how the river can change its course. An example of human induced change in river morphology is dam construction, which alters the ebb flow of fluvial water and sediment, therefore creating or shrinking estuarine channels. A river regime is a dynamic equilibrium system, which is a way of classifying rivers into different categories. The four categories of river regimes are Sinuous canali- form rivers, Sinuous point bar rivers, Sinuous braided rivers, and Non-sinuous braided rivers.

The study of river morphology is accomplished in the field of fluvial geomorphology, the scientific term.

Sanitation of the Indus Valley Civilisation

The ancient Indus Valley Civilization of South Asia, including current day Pakistan and Northwest India, was prominent in hydraulic engineering, and had many water supply and sanitation devices that were the first of their kind. The urban areas of the Indus Valley civilization included public and private baths. Sewage was disposed through underground drains built with precisely laid bricks, and a sophisticated water management system with numerous reservoirs was established. In the drainage systems, drains from houses were connected to wider public drains. Many of the buildings at Mohenjo-daro had two or more stories. Water from the roof and upper storey bathrooms was carried through enclosed terracotta pipes or open chutes that emptied out onto the street drains.The earliest evidence of urban sanitation was seen in Harappa, Mohenjo-daro, and the recently discovered Rakhigarhi of Indus Valley civilization. This urban plan included the world's first urban sanitation systems. Within the city, individual homes or groups of homes obtained water from wells. From a room that appears to have been set aside for bathing, waste water was directed to covered drains, which lined the major streets.

Devices such as shadoofs and sakias were used to lift water to ground level. Ruins from the Indus Valley Civilization like Mohenjo-daro in Pakistan and Dholavira in Gujarat in India had settlements with some of the ancient world's most sophisticated sewage systems. They included drainage channels, rainwater harvesting, and street ducts.

Stepwells have mainly been used in the Indian subcontinent.

With a number of courtyard houses having both a washing platform and a dedicated toilet / waste disposal hole. The toilet holes would be flushed by emptying jar of water, drawn from the house's central well, through a clay brick pipe and into a shared brick drain, that would feed into an adjacent soakpit (cesspit). The soakpits would be periodically emptied of their solid matter, possibly to be used as fertilizer. Most houses also had private wells. City walls functioned as a barrier against floods.

The urban areas of the Indus Valley provided public and private baths, sewage was disposed through underground drains built with precisely laid bricks, and a sophisticated water management system with numerous reservoirs was established. In the drainage systems, drains from houses were connected to wider public drains.


A sluice (from the Dutch "sluis") is a water channel controlled at its head by a gate. A mill race, leet, flume, penstock or lade is a sluice channelling water toward a water mill. The terms sluice, sluice gate, knife gate, and slide gate are used interchangeably in the water and wastewater control industry.

A sluice gate is traditionally a wood or metal barrier sliding in grooves that are set in the sides of the waterway. Sluice gates commonly control water levels and flow rates in rivers and canals. They are also used in wastewater treatment plants and to recover minerals in mining operations, and in watermills.


A spillway is a structure used to provide the controlled release of flows from a dam or levee into a downstream area, typically the riverbed of the dammed river itself. In the United Kingdom, they may be known as overflow channels. Spillways ensure that the water does not overflow and damage or destroy the dam.

Floodgates and fuse plugs may be designed into spillways to regulate water flow and reservoir level. Such a spillway can be used to regulate downstream flows – by releasing water in small amounts before the reservoir is full, operators can prevent sudden large releases that would happen if the dam were overtopped.

Other uses of the term "spillway" include bypasses of dams or outlets of channels used during high water, and outlet channels carved through natural dams such as moraines.

Water normally flows over a spillway only during flood periods – when the reservoir cannot hold the excess of water entering the reservoir over the amount used. In contrast, an intake tower is a structure used to release water on a regular basis for water supply, hydroelectricity generation, etc.

Starling (structure)

In architecture, a starling (or sterling) or, more commonly, cutwater is a defensive bulwark, usually built with pilings or bricks, surrounding the supports (or piers) of a bridge or similar construction. Starlings are shaped to ease the flow of the water around the bridge, reducing the damage caused by erosion or collisions with flood-borne debris, and may also form an important part of the structure of the bridge, spreading the weight of the piers. So the cutwaters make the current of water less forceful.

Starlings may form part of a buttress for the vertical load of the bridge piers, and so are symmetrical. Examples such as at the Old Wye Bridge, Chepstow are on lower stretches of rivers which are tidal and that require a starling in both directions. Other starlings may be asymmetrical, so that the upstream aspect of a pier is larger as it a face sloping outwards, whilst downstream is vertical.

One problem caused by starlings is the accumulation of river debris, mud and other objects against the starlings, potentially hindering the flow.

The starling has a sharpened or curved extreme sometimes called the nose. The cutwater may be of concrete or masonry, but is often capped with a steel angle to resist abrasion and focus force at a single point to fracture floating pieces of ice striking the pier. In cold climates the starling is typically sloped at an angle of about 45° so current pushing against part-submerged ice flow tends to lift the solid ice translating horizontal force of the current to a vertical force shearing the ice allowing the icy flows to pass on either side. A sloped, ice-cutting starling is known as a starkwater.


A weir or low head dam is a barrier across the width of a river that alters the flow characteristics of water and usually results in a change in the height of the river level. There are many designs of weir, but commonly water flows freely over the top of the weir crest before cascading down to a lower level.

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