What is Hydraulic Engineering?
Hydraulic engineering is the Science of water in motion and its interactions with the surrounding environment. Water plays a major role in human perception of the environment because it is an indispensable element. More importantly Human Life is totally dependent upon water. The technical challenges facing hydraulic engineers are formidable and sustained research efforts are essential.
The term 'Hydraulics' is related to the application of the Fluid Mechanics principles to water engineering structures, civil and environmental engineering facilities: e.g., canal, river, dam, reservoir, water treatment plant. Hydraulic engineering is the science of water in motion, and the interactions between the flowing fluid and the surrounding environment. Hydraulic engineers are concerned with application of the basic principles of fluid mechanics to open channel flows and real fluid flow hydrodynamics. Examples of open channels are natural streams and rivers. Man-made channels include irrigation and navigation canals, drainage ditches, sewer and culvert pipes running partially full, and spillways.
Hydraulic engineering links catchment hydrology and rainfall runoff to fluid mechanics of water runoff. In a catchment, a hydraulic structure must be analysed as part of the surrounding catchment and the hydrology plays an important role. Structural and hydraulic constraints interact, and the design of a hydraulic structure is a complex exercise altogether. First the system must be identified. What are the design objectives ? What are the constraints ? What is the range of options ? What is the "best choice" ? Its detailed analysis must be conducted and the engineers should ask : is this solution really satisfactory ? During design stages, physical and computational models may be reliable 'tools' to compare the performances of various design options.