American Society of Civil Engineers

High-Resolution Method for Modeling Hydraulic Regime Changes at Canal Gate Structures

by H. H. Jaafar, A.M.ASCE, (Lecturer, Dept. of Civil Engineering, Lebanese American Univ., Byblos, Lebanon. E-mail: and G. P. Merkley, (corresponding author), (Professor, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Utah State Univ., Logan, UT 84322-4110 E-mail:

Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering, Vol. 136, No. 12, December 2010, pp. 795-808, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: A method for modeling flow regime changes at gate structures in canal reaches is presented. The methodology consists of using an approximate Riemann solver at the internal computational nodes, along with the simultaneous solution of the characteristic equations with a gate structure equation at the upstream and downstream boundaries of each reach. The conservative form of the unsteady shallow-water equations is solved in the one-dimensional form using an explicit second-order weighted-average—flux upwind total variation diminishing (TVD) method and a Preissmann implicit scheme method. Four types of TVD limiters are integrated into the explicit solution of the governing hydraulic equations, and the results of the different schemes were compared. Twelve possible cases of flow regime change in a two-reach canal with a gate downstream of the first reach and a weir downstream of the second reach, were considered. While the implicit method gave smoother results, the high-resolution scheme—characteristic method coupling approach at the gate structure was found to be robust in terms of minimizing oscillations generated during changing flow regimes. The complete method developed in this study was able to successfully resolve numerical instabilities due to intersecting shock waves.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Hydraulic structures
Hydraulic models

Author Keywords:
Canal gate structures
Hydraulic modeling
Hydraulic regime changes