Hydraulic Investigations and Laboratory Services

The Hydraulic Investigations and Laboratory Services apply hydraulic modeling, analysis, and lab and field measurements expertise to the solution of water resources, hydraulics, and fluid mechanics problems. We operate Reclamation's only hydraulics laboratory, with an 86-year history of developing state-of-the-art hydraulic engineering technologies. Our work is focused on ensuring the safety of Reclamation dams, managing and conserving water resources, constructing, operating and maintaining essential civil and hydromechanical infrastructure, and protecting and improving the environment. We address site-specific needs and conduct applied research studies that benefit all Reclamation projects. We perform work for Reclamation and other organizations, including international clients, federal, state, and local governments, and private entities. We share many of our research products through the TSC web site, including Hydraulics Laboratory Publications and Computer Software.

Services provided include:


Hydraulic Structures Modeling (contact Bob Einhellig, 303-445-2142):

  • Physical hydraulic model studies in our 54,000 sq. ft. indoor lab facility. Flow capacities up to 60 cfs and 600 ft of pressure head are available, with fixed and variable-slope flumes, low-ambient pressure chamber, and the latest data acquisition equipment.
1:48 scale physical model of the Folsom Joint Federal Project

Computational Fluid Dynamics Modeling (contact Bob Einhellig, 303-445-2142):

  • FLOW-3D software complements physical modeling capabilities
  • Initial investigations with CFD can be used to narrow the range of alternatives tested in a physical model
  • Flow properties that are difficult to physically measure can be evaluated numerically

Visualization of CFD model of flow through a fishway

Water Conservation, Water Management, Water Measurement (contact Tony Wahl, 303-445-2155):
  • Canal operations, automation, and modernization
  • Water measurement structures, design and calibration
  • Assistance to irrigation districts with remote monitoring and control of irrigation delivery systems
  • Training
Long-throated flume in Idaho
Environmental Hydraulics (contact Tracy Vermeyen, 303-445-2154:
  • Fish protection and screening
  • Fish passage
  • Regulating temperature and water quality of reservoir releases
  • River stabilization and restoration for habitat protection and improvement
Sturgeon swimming through an experimental fishway in the hydraulics lab
Hydraulic Structures and Equipment (contact Joe Kubitschek, 303-445-2148):
  • Operation & maintenance issues related to hydraulic facilities
  • Cavitation in hydraulic machinery and spillways
  • Performance of gates and valves
  • Flow induced vibration and stresses
  • Hydroturbine hydraulics
Photo of Modified Isbester valve (clamshell gate)
Infrastructure Safety (contact Tony Wahl, 303-445-2155):
  • Dam Safety improvements
  • Dam breach modeling, canal breach modeling
  • Soil erodibility measurements and research (JET and Hole Erosion Tests)
  • Spillway erosion modeling (SITES and WinDAM analyses)
Canal embankment breach test in progress
Field Measurements and Testing (contact Tracy Vermeyen, 303-445-2154):
  • Discharge measurements using Doppler and transit-time acoustic instruments
  • Scanning sonar underwater imaging
  • Channel bathymetry
  • Flow velocity in 1, 2, or 3 dimensions, using ADV's and ADCP's (boat-mounted and fixed deployment)
  • Pressure, (dynamic and steady-state)
  • Stress, strain and vibration in mechanical components of hydraulic machinery
  • Temperature and water quality in reservoirs and rivers
  • Air demand of hydraulic equipment
Combined photo/sonar image of the Shasta Temperature Control Device

Research Products - Software and Publications (contact Tony Wahl, 303-445-2155):

WinFlume main screen
Last Updated: 8/29/19