Research Specialists and Programs

Current Water Division research activities can be grouped into the following academic program areas:

  • Fluid Mechanics and Hydraulics
  • Hydrology
  • Ground Water
  • Water Resources

In Fluid Mechanics and Hydraulics, research is being conducted in theoretical fluid mechanics and applied hydraulics; open channel hydraulics; pipe and closed conduit flow; control systems; flow distribution in complex pipe systems; transient and unsteady flow analysis; valve engineering and testing; pump testing; design and modeling of hydraulic structures; two phase flow; cavitation; municipal water system design; sedimentation; flow resistance; flood plain management and control; erosion control and protection; and porous media.

The physical models tested in the hydraulics lab include: dams, weirs, energy dissipators, stilling basins, impact basins, flow diversions, settling basins, sediment diversions, reservoirs, rivers and channels, pump intakes, mixing basins, large scale control valves, and many other related types of hydraulic structures. Laboratory facilities are among the best in the nation and include a large area for hydraulic modeling, a rainfall simulator for erosion studies, and several flumes, one that can accommodate flows of up to 230 cfs.

Research in Hydrology covers a wide range of theoretical and applied aspects of modern hydrology. These include climate modeling, rainfall processes, floods, droughts, terminal lake analyses, snow hydrology, soil erosion, watershed analyses, hydrologic aspects of dam safety assessment, and regional and global scale hydrology.

Groundwater research at the UWRL encompasses the theory of multi-phase flow in porous media; groundwater hydrology and hydraulics; fate and transport of contaminants in the subsurface; and stochastic, analytical, and numerical modeling of such processes. Current examples range from theoretical stochastic analyses of transport of contaminants in ground water to the practical design of cleanup technologies for contaminated sites.

Research in the Water Resources Program currently includes optimization studies for water allocation and reservoir operation, regional drought management, risk assessment, river basin development and operation, and water demand and supply modeling using geographical information systems. The faculty are also involved in international technical assistance and training in several countries.