What Is Hydraulic Engineering?

by James A. Liggett,

Part of: Perspectives in Civil Engineering: Commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the American Society of Civil Engineers


This paper, written to mark ASCE's 150th anniversary, traces the role of hydraulic engineering from early or mid-twentieth-century to the beginning of the twenty-first century. A half-century ago hydraulic engineering was central in building the economies of the United Statesc and many other countries by designing small and large water works. That process entailed a concentrated effort in research that ranged from the minute details of fluid flow to a general study of economics and ecology. Gradually over the last half-century, hydraulic engineering has evolved from a focus on large construction projects to now include the role of conservation and preservation. Although the hydraulic engineer has traditionally had to interface with other disciplines, that aspect of the profession has taken on new urgency and, fortunately, is supported by exciting new technological developments. He/she must acquire new skills, in addition to retaining and improving the traditional skills, and form close partnerships with such fields as ecology, economics, social science, and humanities.

Subject Headings: Hydraulic engineering | Hydraulic design | Fluid flow | Ecosystems | Economic factors | Social factors | Project management


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