cod. 1006813

Academic year 2023/24
2° year of course - First semester
Marco D'ORIA
Academic discipline
Costruzioni idrauliche e marittime e idrologia (ICAR/02)
Ingegneria civile
Type of training activity
48 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

Knowledge and understanding:
At the end of the course, the student should know, and be able to understand, the basic concepts and the applications of some widely used software in the field of hydraulic engineering, especially in the context of urban drainage and water distribution networks and two-dimensional hydraulic modeling of channels. The student should also gain insight into the capabilities, but also the limitations and approximations, which may result from the application of numerical models to real case studies.

Applying knowledge and understanding:
At the end of the course, and after passing the exam, the student should be able to identify the main parameters and components that govern the complex hydraulic systems studied. Then, the student should be able to apply the appropriate numerical model. At the same time, the student should be able to analyze and confirm the software results and to manage the problems that can be encountered in numerical modeling. Finally, the student must be familiar with the technical terminology used by the software.

Making autonomous judgments:
The student should be able, with critical mind, to autonomously apply the software studied during the course to real cases. The student should have the ability to make autonomous judgements in evaluating the results produced by colleagues in the studied fields..

Communication skills:
The student should be able to clearly present, with the correct terminology, the results of the numerical models by means of texts, tables and charts.


None required but it is useful to have knowledge in hydraulics and hydrology. It is helpful to have familiarity with computers and the basic functionality of Microsoft Word and Excel.

Course unit content

The course responds to the growing demand of using numerical models in hydraulic engineering problems. In particular, free software, which is widely used in national and international consulting engineering, will be analyzed in detail.
In particular, the following topics will be covered:

1. Analysis and design of urban drainage and sewer systems, with particular attention to storage units, overflow devices and Low Impact Development (LID) technologies. Pumping stations will be discussed. The SWWM software developed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be used.

2. Modeling of pressurized pipe networks (water supply, irrigation and fire prevention systems). The hydraulic simulation of pressure pipes will be coupled with the water quality aspects and at the same time the water age throughout the network will be modeled. Management issues will be discussed by introducing simple or complex rule-based controls on the system components. The EPANET software developed by the US EPA will be used.

3. Two-dimensional (2D) hydraulic modeling of natural and constructed channels under unsteady flow conditions. 2D modeling, in addition to describing the river flow dynamics, is particularly useful in simulating flood scenarios and performing inundation mapping. The recent HEC-RAS 2D software developed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and increasingly used in consulting engineering, will be discussed.

During the course, the theoretical aspects of the modeled phenomena will be recalled and the main components of the software will be illustrated. At the same time, numerical models will be applied to real case studies.

Full programme

Hydraulic engineering software
Detailed program

Part 1 – EPANET
• Fields of application of the software
• Hydraulic and water quality modeling capabilities in pressurized pipe networks
• Physical components of pressurized pipe networks (nodes e links)
• Non-physical components of pressurized pipe networks (curves, time patterns e controls)
• Junction with specified demand, nodes with flow rate varying as a function of the pressure (emitters), tanks and reservoirs
• Simulation, in EPANET, of the pipe head losses (Hazen-Williams, Darcy-Weisbach, Chezy-Manning)
• Simulation, in EPANET, of the local head losses
• Simulation of pumps and valves are links that limit pressure or flow
• Use of time patterns to allow demand to vary over time, controls that determine how the network is operated over time.
• Different modeling approach of pressurized pipe networks (demand driven, pressure driven)
• Numerical solution of the continuity equation at the junctions and the pipe flow equation used by EPANET
• Water quality simulation model in EPANET (basic transport and mixing at nodes)
• Water quality reactions: growth or decay of a substance
• Water age and source tracing
Practical exercises (use of the software by the students): defining a pipe network in GIS, import of the network in EPANET, preliminary design of the network, simulation of the hydraulic and water quality behavior of the network (with tanks, valves, pumps, controls).

Part 2 – SWMM
• Fields of application of the software
• Rainfall-runoff simulation and flow routing within drainage systems
• Components of the software (rain gauges, sub-basins, nodes, links, weirs, storage units)
• Infiltration methods (Horton and Curve Number methods), depression storage
• Non-linear reservoir as rainfall-runoff method in SWMM
• Flow routing within the conduits (equations and their solution in SWMM)
• Simulation of pumps, weirs, storage units
• Low Impact Development techniques: Bio-retention cells, green roofs, infiltration trenches, permeable pavements, etc.)
Practical exercises (use of the software by the students): modeling a drainage system to collect runoff of a specified area. Pre-development and post-development runoff. Detention reservoirs for reducing the peak flows and low impact development systems.

Part 3 – HEC-RAS
• Fields of application of the software
• 2D flow routing capabilities in HEC-RAS
• Creating the 2D computational mesh in HEC-RAS
• Assigning initial and boundary conditions
• Run the model and view the results
• 2D SWE (Shallow water equations and outline of their numerical solution in HEC-RAS)
Practical exercises (use of the software by the students): 2D modeling of a river reach, creating the 2D computational mesh, assigning initial and boundary conditions, data pre-processing and simulation run. Viewing the results and exporting them in GIS format.


Copy of the lecture slides and text of the practice exercises which take place in the computer lab. The material will be available on the web site “elly”.

Fondamenti di costruzioni idrauliche, Becciu G., Paoletti A. (2010), Utet Scienze Tecniche.

Storm Water Management Model User's Manual Version 5.1, Rossman L.A. (2015), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Epanet 2 - Users Manual, Rossman L.A. (2000), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

HEC-RAS River Analysis System, 2D Modeling User’s Manual, Vers. 5 (2016), US Army Corps of Engineers, Institute for Water Resources, Hydrologic Engineering Center.

Teaching methods

The course is structured in two parts: theory and practice exercises involving the use of software by the students.
The theory of the course will be illustrated by means of slides; the theoretical aspects of the modeled phenomena will be recalled. The practical exercises, conducted by the students, will be in the computer lab; when necessary the exercises will be preceded by a lecture which will illustrate the main components of the used software.

Assessment methods and criteria

The examination is based on a project and an oral exam. The project (also developed in teams of students) involves the use of one of the software learned during the course and will in part developed during the classes with the help of the lecturer and then completed in autonomy by the students. The examination is weighted as follows: 40% written report (proper analysis of the data and clarity in presenting the results); 60% oral exam (theory questions, project discussion, ability to apply the learned skills to original problems and correct use of technical terms).
The qualification will be scored applying a scale of 30/30th where the minimum to pass is considered 18 and the higher score is 30 cum laude.

Other information

Lecture attendance is highly recommended.