Essentials of Hydraulics for Civil and Environmental Professionals

Upcoming dates (1)

Oct. 24-26, 2023

Madison, WI or Live Online

Course Overview

Receive an overview of key hydraulic principles and properties and will proceed to specific applications and problems of interest to civil and environmental professionals. By participating in this course, you will improve their overall hydraulic knowledge and

  • Develop a working knowledge of key hydraulic principles and properties 
  • Understand how to solve practical problems in pipe flow, pumping systems,
  • open channels, reservoirs, and groundwater 
  • Apply this knowledge to specific facilities and systems such as water supply systems, sanitary sewers, stormwater systems, groundwater wells, rivers, dams, and other hydraulic systems 
  • Specify and select pumping equipment, motors, valves, and piping systems 
  • Work with hydrographs, rainfall intensities, runoff, and probability concepts 
  • Understand the role of hydraulic computer models 
  • Use appropriate assumptions and simplifications to solve hydraulic problems

Who Should Attend?

  • Civil and environmental engineers and technical professionals 
  • Municipal and consulting engineers 
  • State and federal agencies, military bases 
  • Others responsible for water related systems and facilities

Course Outline

Hydraulic Concepts and Properties

  • Unit weight, density, viscosity, bulk modulus
  • Pressure and head
  • Hydrostatics and buoyancy
  • Laminar and turbulent flow
  • Steady and unsteady flow

Pressurized Flow in Pipes

  • Continuity
  • Energy grade line and the Bernoulli principle
  • Pressure head, velocity head, elevation head
  • Friction losses, Darcy-Weisbach, and Hazen-Williams
  • Minor losses in valves and fittings
  • System head curves

Pumps and Pumping Systems

  • Pump characteristics and performance curves
  • Impeller types, specific speeds, cavitation, net positive suction head
  • Efficiency, power, and energy use
  • Affinity laws: speed, flow, and head
  • Parallel and series pumping
  • Electric motors, variable speed pumping, VFDs

Flow in Open Channels

  • Using the Manning equation
  • Channel roughness, slope, and geometry
  • Uniform and gradually varied flow profiles
  • Rapidly varied flow, weirs, and spillways

Groundwater and Well Hydraulics

  • Aquifer and porous media characteristics
  • Drawdown, hydraulic conductivity
  • Well siting, test wells, quality vs. quantity
  • Typical well designs and cross-sections

Municipal Drinking Water System Hydraulics

  • Distribution systems, levels of service, fire flow criteria
  • Treatment plant hydraulics
  • Water pumps, reservoirs, pipelines, and pipe maintenance
  • System computer modeling
  • Design pitfalls and challenges

Stormwater Hydrology and Hydraulics

  • Rainfall and runoff principles
  • Probability, flow, and precipitation frequency
  • Rational method, SCS curve numbers, unit hydrographs
  • River and stream hydraulics
  • Introduction to TR55, HEC-RAS
  • Stormwater Management Applications
  • Storm sewer design examples
  • Detention basin design examples
  • Best management practices
  • Low impact development

Wastewater System Hydraulics

  • Hydraulic characteristics of sanitary sewer systems
  • Diurnal flow variations
  • Inflow, infiltration, peaking factors
  • Handling solids-bearing liquids and sludges
  • Lift station and treatment plant hydraulics

Problem-Solving Workshops and Exercises

  • Throughout the course, attendees will participate in short problem-solving exercises that will help them to understand the key hydraulic issues, perform calculations, develop solutions, and discuss alternative scenarios.


"Excellent teaching skills and handouts. Included specific tools I can use at work. I really learned a lot from Ned Paschke."

"Excellent presentation and materials. I've been struggling with hydraulics since starting work, and this course helped me to feel much more confident to take on those hydraulics problems."

"By far the best continuing education class that I have attended."


Alan Larson

Al Larson, PE, BCEE, is Principal Engineer for Madison Water Utility. His agency pumps an annual average of 29 million gallons per day from 22 deep wells. Larson manages a capital improvement program of over $25 million/year as the Utility struggles to replace its aging infrastructure. Larson has over 35 years of engineering experience in a wide range of projects in both water supply and treatment and waste water conveyance. Larson came to Madison more than 13 years ago after almost 24 years as a consultant serving a wide range of municipal and county clients. His most recent consulting experience was with HDR Engineering in Seattle, Washington where he worked as a project manager and lead design engineer for several surface water treatment plants and large wastewater trunk sewers and deep CSO storage tunnels.

Charles Melching

Charles S. “Steve” Melching is an environmental consultant from Greenfield, Wis. In his 25+-year career he has been a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Marquette University and Rutgers University and a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. He has worked on a wide variety of hydrologic and water quality studies in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kentucky, Florida, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Belgium, and China. He has received the 2001 ASCE Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize and the 2008 Researcher of the Year Award from Marquette University.

David Perry

David works on wet weather problems in wastewater collection system.  The hydrologic response of tributary areas caused by infiltration and inflow into the sewer pipes has been the consistent focus of his work for the last 20 years with Brown and Caldwell in Milwaukee.  This work involves     extensive rainfall and flow monitoring and a variety of software programs to support long range planning for sewer system improvement for decades to come.  Prior to this, David taught Civil Engineering at Santa Clara University.  He also has experience in large river modeling for dam safety studies and finite element analysis of underwater ocean cable hydrodynamics.

David has B.S. and M.S. degrees in Naval Architecture and Offshore Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering (Hydrology) from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Upcoming dates (1)

Program Director

Adib Amini

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