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Hydraulic Research in Transition

The Evolving Role of Hydraulic Structures - From Development to Management of Water

by Philip H. Burgi, Manager, Water Resources Research Laboratory
Issues and Directions in Hydraulics - An Iowa Hydraulics Colloquium
, Iowa City, Iowa, May 23-25, 1995

INTRODUCTION

Throughout its illustrious history, the Bureau of Reclamation has focused its efforts on creating a life- sustaining environment in the once barren West. Reclamation was established in 1902 and since that date has constructed over 220 large dams. Reclamation's hydraulic research started in the early 1930's and played a key role in developing innovative designs and establishing standards for many hydraulic structures. In the early years, Reclamation's applied hydraulic research dealt with dam structures such as spillways, outlet works, and their energy dissipators. Over time the research expanded to include hydraulic equipment and various conveyance systems for irrigation and municipal and industrial water supplies, Rhone (1990).

Reclamation's hydraulic structures research in the period from 1930 through the 1970's resulted in world class technological advancements in water resource development as documented in publications such as Design of Small Dams (1960) and Engineering Monograph No. 25, "Hydraulic Design of Stilling Basins and Energy Dissipators" (1958). As public values shift from an emphasis on water resource development to management of western waters, our hydraulic research program has maintained a contemporary focus. This evolution in hydraulic research from water development to water management has led to an emphasis on technology development for protecting the public and the infrastructure developed in the past, encouraging water conservation, and emphasizing environmental restoration on regulated river systems. This paper will describe emerging areas of hydraulic research for protecting hydraulic structures and utilizing hydraulic structures to manage the water resource in an environmentally and economically sound manner.


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Last reviewed: 10/26/04