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You are here : Technical Divisions : Hydraulics : Fluvial Hydraulics

IAHR Fluvial Hydraulics Committee

Next Events

  • River Flow 2018, 9th International Conference on Fluvial Hydraulics, 3-7 September 2018, Lyon, France Website

Leadership Team 2017-2019


Senior Lecturer in Environmental Engineering
The University of Newcastle
School of Engineering

Vice Chair

Irstea - Institut National De Recherche En Sciences Et Technologies

Past Chair

Leichtweiss-Institut fur Wasserbau
Technical University of Braunschweig


IAHR Hydraulics Division Programme Officer


This branch of geophysical hydraulics consists of the observation, analysis and control of fluvial processes. Any engineering intervention of a river (control) requires a preliminary assessment of the mechanisms involved (observation) and the prediction of their effects (analysis).
Physical processes in rivers are determined by the interaction of water and sediments. Waterflow and sediment transport are, therefore, traditional topics of study of this branch. Chemical and biological processes are also becoming more important, especially as their relationships to river morphology are recognised.
River engineers work in close contact with the natural environment. Their measures often interfere with natural processes. Environmental consideration and careful handling of fragile ecosystems are gaining increasing attention.
The morphology of a river is highly variable along its course, from the steepest branches of the upland regions down to the flat reaches of the estuary where rivers meet the sea. The behaviour of rivers in their middle course, where sediment transport is constituted by the relatively uniform material of the bed, has been investigated rather comprehensively by hydraulic engineers. Less attention has been paid to the upper and lower parts of the river. In the upper reaches sediment transport is directly controlled by the input from mass movement and surface erosion. In the lower estuary region, sediment motion is affected by salt, and tidal influences.
Consequently, the fluvial hydraulics Committee is now interested in research that involves components from other disciplines like biology, geomorphology, soil mechanics and oceanography.
Fluvial hydraulics needs contact with practice. The researchers depend on the engineers involved in practical river management, including construction. Their models and scientific approaches require data and experience from the field. On the other hand, the engineers doing practical work can benefit from research results and innovations by applying them in practice.

Research Agenda

River processes: Experimental and theoretical investigations are being carried out to describe, in a more accurate and detailed way, various aspects of fluvial dynamics. These investigations include secondary flow and secondary sediment transport in geometrically complex configurations. Horizontal distribution in the bottom of non-uniform grainsize material, and dynamics of hyperconcentrated flows, like mud and debris flows. Overall models of the entire fluvial system, which would take into account the above-mentioned components, are also required for various engineering purposes.
Risk analysis and mitigation in fluvial systems: Besides the traditional one-dimensional analysis of the propagation of flood waters along a fixed-bed river, many other aspects of risk analysis and mitigation should be considered for general hazard assessment.
In the past years, attention has been focused on the two-dimensional spread of a steep wave in a valley produced by a ruptured dam. However, catastrophic inundations may also be related to large earth movements like the falling of a large mass into a reservoir, the sudden washing-away of a natural dam formed by landslides, or the rapid overaggradation of a mountain river, by mud and debris flow.
Mitigation of these effects, including reliable warning systems and structural and non-structural measures are currently under investigation.
Re-naturalisation of river environment: Due to increased environmental awareness by hydraulic engineers and the mounting pressure exerted by conservationist groups, the design of structural interventions in rivers must now consider environmental problems. In some cases, existing works decades and centuries old are under scrutiny for a possible “re-naturalisation”.
As a “natural” configuration will generally correspond to more severe hydraulic conditions, research is needed to improve the compatibility between biological and engineering requirements, as well as to define new standards for the design of trained rivers.
Long-term evolution: While in some places (e.g. in Europe), future interventions in rivers will likely be limited to relatively small training and re-naturalisation works of secondary streams, new projects in other countries will probably involve important constructions on the largest rivers of the world.
In general, the necessity of environmentally acceptable and economically feasible sediment management which is oriented towards sustainable development must be given careful consideration
Improved methods for predicting the effects of new projects have to be developed, especially with regard to the hydrological and sedimentary regimes of the system. Because the reaction-time of the system depends upon its size, the evolution of very large rivers following these constructions may go on for centuries.
Special long term models that can simulate this time-scale should be prepared and tested against historical records. The history of river-water utilisation is full of examples of the unpredictable changes to river morphology and water quality as a result of river constructions.

Past Events and Publications

International Conferences on Fluvial Hydraulics (River Flow)

  • River Flow 2016. 8th International Conference on Fluvial Hydraulics, 10-15 July 2016, Saint-Louis, Missouri, USA Website First Announcement
  • River Flow 2014. 7th International Conference on Fluvial Hydraulics, 3-5 September 2014, Lausanne, Switzerland Proceedings / Conference Report
  • River Flow 2012. 6th International Conference on Fluvial Hydraulics, 5-7 September, 212, San José, Costa Rica. 2 volumes + CD. ISBN 978-0-415-62129-8. Published by Taylor and Francis (IAHR members have 10% discount, contact membership@iahr.org)
  • River Flow 2010. 5th International Conference on Fluvial Hydraulics, 8-10 September, 2010, Braunschweig, Germany. 2 volumes + CD. ISBN 978-3-939230-00-7. Published by Bundesanstalt für Wasserbau (BAW) e-mail:info@baw.de  Download
  • River Flow 2008. 4rd International Conference on Fluvial Hydraulics, 3-5 September, 2008, Cesme, Izmir, Turkey. 3 volumes + CD. ISBN 978-605-60136-1-4. Published by Taylor & Francis (IAHR members have 10% discount, contact membership@iahr.org)
  • River Flow 2006. 3nd International. Conference on Fluvial Hydraulics, 6-8 September, 2006, Lisbon, Portugal. 2 volumes. ISBN 978-0-415-40815-8. Published by Taylor and Francis (IAHR members have 10% discount, contact membership@iahr.org)
  • River Flow 2004. 2nd International Conference on Fluvial Hydraulics, 23-25 June, 2004, Naples, Italy. 2 volumes. ISBN 978-90-5809-658-6. Published by Taylor and Francis (IAHR members have 10% discount, contact membership@iahr.org)
  • River Flow 2002. 1st International Conference on Fluvial Hydraulics, 3-6 September 2002, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. 2 volumes. ISBN 90-5809-509-6. Published by Taylor and Francis (IAHR members have 10% discount, contact membership@iahr.org)
International Conferences on Flood Management and Defence
  • 5th International Conference on Flood Management (ICFM5) 27-29 September 2011, Tsukuba, Japan. Contact membership@iahr.org
  • 4th International Conference on Flood Management (ICFM4) 6-8 May 2008, Toronto, Canada. Contact membership@iahr.org
  • 3rd International Symposium on Flood Defence (ISFD3), 25-27 May 2005, Nijmegen, Netherlands. Book + CD. Published by Taylor and Francis
  • 2nd International Symposium on River Flood Defence, 10-13 September, 2002, Beijing, China. 2 volumes + CD. Contact membership@iahr.org
  • 1st International Symposium on River Flood Defence, 2000, Kassel, Germany. 3 volumes. ISBN 3-930150-20-4. Contact membership@iahr.org
International Symposiums in River Sedimentation
  • 13th International Symposium on River Sedimentation (ISRS2016), 19-22 September 2016, Stuttgart, Germany Preliminary leaflet
  • 12th International Symposium on River Sedimentation (ISRS2013),  2-5 September 2013, Kyoto, Japan Website Report Proceedings (IAHR members have 10% discount, contact membership@iahr.org)
  • 11th International Symposium on River Sedimentation (ISRS2010), 6-9 September 2010, Stellenbosch, South Africa. Table of contents Contact membership@iahr.org
  • 10th International Symposium on River Sedimentation, 1-4 August 2007, Moscow, Russia.
  • 9th International Symposium on River Sedimentation, 18-21 October 2004, Yichang, China. Published by IRTCES
  • 7th International Symposium on River Sedimentation, 16-18 December 1998, Hong Kong. Published by Balkema.
  • 5th International Symposium on River Sedimentation, 6-10 April 1992 Karslruhe, Germany. From Institut für Wasserbau und Kulturtechnik, University of Karslruhe, Kaiserstrasse 12, D-7500 Karlsruhe 1, Germany. Download
  • 4th International Symposium on River Sedimentation, 1-5 November 1989, Beijing, China. Contact membership@iahr.org
Intermnational Conferences on River Flood Hydraulics
  • 3rd International Conference on River Flood Hydraulics, 5-7 November 1997, Stellenbosch, South Africa. Ms. Jacqueline Watts, Conference Organiser, HR Wallingford Ltd., Howbery Park Wallingford, Oxon OX10 8BA England. Contact membership@iahr.org
  • 2nd International Conference on River Flood Hydraulics, 1994.
  • International Conference on River Flood Hydraulics, 17-20 September 1990, Wallingford, UK. John Wiley & Sons, Baffins Lane, Chichester, W. Sussex, UK.
International Conferences on Debris Flow
  • 3rd International Conference on Debris Flow Hazards Mitigation: Mechanics, Prediction, and Assessment, September 10-12, 2003. e-mail: maria.viklander@sb.luth.se
  • 2nd International Conference on Debris Flow Hazards Mitigation: Mechanics, Prediction, and Assessment, August 16-18, 2000, Taipei, Taiwan. Published by A.A. Balkema Publishers.
  • 2nd World's Large Rivers Conference, Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil, 21-25 July 2014 Website Conference Report Contact worldslargerivers@boku.ac.at
  • 1st World's Large Rivers Conference, Vienna, Austrial, 2012 Vienna declaration Contact worldslargerivers@boku.ac.at
  • International Conference on European River Development (ICERD) 16-18 April 1998, Budapest, Hungary. Paperback 432 pages. US$ 40 + P&P. Water Resources Research Centre VITUKI, 1095 Budapest, Kvassay J. út 1, Hungary. E-mail:jgayer@vituki.hu
  • International Workshop on Floodplain Risk, Management, 11-13 November 1996. Hiroshima, Japan. Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Hiroshima Univ., 1-4-1 Kagamiyama, Higashi Hiroshima, 739 Japan.
  • International Conference on Reservoir Sedimentation (ICCORES) 9-13 September 1996, Colorado, USA. M.L. Albertson, Civil Engineering Dept, 203 Weber Building, Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, Colorado 80523, USA.
  • International Conference on Aspects of Conflicts in Reservoir Development & Management, 3-5 September 1996, London, UK. Ms. P. Walker, Int. Conference Secretariat, Dept of Civil Engineering, City University, Northhampton Square, London EC1 0HB UK
  • 10th Symposium on River, Coastal and Estuarine Morphodynamics (RCEM), 18-21 September 2017, Trento and Padova, Italy, Contact: Guido Zolezzi(Rcem2017@unitn.it), Website

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