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Institute for Modelling Hydraulic and Environmental Systems

Dept. of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management

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The department's particular strengths involve both, fundamental and application-oriented research on topics concerning sustainable water resources development.

One rather classical aspect deals with design, construction, operation and surveillance of dams. Physical hydraulic models as well as analytical approaches and structural numerical FE-models are applied to assess the reliability and safety of hydraulic structures. In-depth examinations of dams were carried out, containing hydrologic, hydraulic and stability analysis as well as risk analysis. Risk assessment and risk management is part of the department’s research.

Another focus is on flood protection, an important feature in the management of river catchments. This includes planning as well as operating protective dykes, reservoirs, and polders. Additionally, numerical 1d and 2d-simulations serve to predict in high resolution the spatial and temporal distribution of a flood wave.

Transport processes of particles and sediments have been always of particular interest in the management of waterways ranging form sedimentation in reservoirs and harbours as opposed to erosion in recessed river stretches. Although sediments are often associated with pollutants, they are also vital to maintain ecological health and functions of rivers. In the department, we have a unique approach to account for the complexity of the processes involved in bed load/sediment dynamics that requires more than one discipline: engineering science is combined with biology, chemistry and physics to complement experimental work with numerical modelling (1d, 2d, and 3d). Innovative research is conducted on biostabilisation of fine sediments by microorganisms (bacteria, microalgae) as well as on colmation of gravel beds by organic material.

An important pillar of research is represented by habitat modelling for fish, macrofauna, vegetation, and flood plains using fuzzy approaches (e.g. CASIMIR). The models are constantly developed to obtain the best possible judgement on habitat suitability for organisms that are indicative for water quality. While learning about the needs of ecology to implement it in cutting-edge models on one hand, and knowing the constructional and hydraulic requirements of e.g. hydroelectric power plants on the other hand, the department covers an important interface that is only possible by interdisciplinary research as it is performed here.