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Hydraulic structure

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A hydraulic structure is structure submerged or partially submerged in any body of water,
which disrupts the natural flow of water. They can be used to divert, disrupt or completely stop
the flow. An example of a hydraulic structure would be a dam, which slows the normal flow rate
of the river in order to power turbines. A hydraulic structure can be built in rivers, a sea, or any
body of water where there is a need for a change in the natural flow of water.

Hydraulic structures may also be used to measure the flow of water. When used to measure the
flow of water, hydraulic structures are defined as a class of specially shaped, static devices
over or through which water is directed in such a way that under free-flow conditions at a
specified location (point of measurement) a known level to flow relationship exists. Hydraulic
structures of this type can generally be divided into two categories: flumes and weirs.

Why do we need dams ?

In ancient times, dams were built for the
single purpose of water supply or
irrigation. As civilizations developed,
there was a greater need for water
supply, irrigation, flood control,
navigation, water quality, sediment
control and energy. Therefore, dams are
constructed for a specific purpose such
as water supply, flood control, irrigation,
navigation, sedimentation control, and
hydropower. A dam is the cornerstone in
the development and management of
water resources development of a river
basin. The multipurpose dam is a very
important project for developing
countries, because the population
receives domestic and economic benefits
from a single investment.

Inscriptions in the sluice of the Marib dam, built in 750 BC
Demand for water is steadily increasing throughout the world. There is no life on earth without
water, our most important resource apart from air and land. During the past three centuries, the
amount of water withdrawn from freshwater resources has increased by a factor of 35, world
population by a factor of 8. With the present world population of 5.6 billion still growing at a
rate of about 90 million per year, and with their legitimate expectations of higher standards of
living, global water demand is expected to rise by a further 2-3 percent annually in the decades

But freshwater resources are limited and unevenly distributed. In the high-consumption countries
with rich resources and a highly developed technical infrastructure, the many ways of conserving,
recycling and re-using water may more or less suffice to curb further growth in supply. In many
other regions, however, water availability is critical to any further development above the present
unsatisfactorily low level, and even to the mere survival of existing communities or to meet the
continuously growing demand originating from the rapid increase of their population. In these
regions man cannot forego the contribution to be made by dams and reservoirs to the harnessing
of water resources.

Aerial view of Sayamaike dam built in the 7th century and still in use
Seasonal variations and climatic
irregularities in flow impede the
efficient use of river runoff, with
flooding and drought causing
problems of catastrophic proportions.
For almost 5 000 years dams have
served to ensure an adequate supply of
water by storing water in times of
surplus and releasing it in times of
scarcity, thus also preventing or
mitigating floods

With their present aggregate storage
capacity of about 6 000 km3, dams
clearly make a significant contribution
to the efficient management of finite
water resources that are unevenly
distributed and subject to large
seasonal fluctuations.

The purposes of dams

Most of the dams are single-purpose dams, but there is now a growing number of multipurpose
dams. Using the most recent publication of the World Register of Dams, irrigation is by far the
most common purpose of dams. Among the single purpose dams, 48 % are for irrigation, 17%
for hydropower (production of electricity), 13% for water supply , 10% for flood control, 5% for
recreation and less than 1% for navigation and fish farming.

Presently, irrigated
land covers about 277
million hectares i.e.
about 18% of world's
arable land but is
responsible for around
40% of crop output
and employs nearly
30% of population
spread over rural
areas. With the large
population growth
expected for the next
decades, irrigation
must be expanded to
increase the food
capacity production.
It is estimated that
80% of additional
food production by
the year 2025 will
need to come from
irrigated land. Even
with the widespread
measures to conserve
water by
improvements in
irrigation technology,
the construction of
more reservoir
projects will be

"Food grows where water flows"


Generators in the power plant
Hydroelectric power
plants generally range
in size from several
hundred kilowatts to
several hundred
megawatts, but a few
enormous plants have
capacities near 10,000
megawatts in order to
supply electricity to
millions of people.
World hydroelectric
power plants have a
combined capacity of
675,000 megawatts
that produces over 2.3
trillion kilowatt-hours
of electricity each
year; supplying 24
percent of the world's

In many countries,
hydroelectric power
provides nearly all of
the electrical power. In
1998, the hydroelectric
plants of Norway and
the Democratic
Republic of the Congo
(formerly Zaire)
provided 99 percent of
each country's power;
and hydroelectric
plants in Brazil
provided 91 percent of
total used electricity.

Electricity generated from dams is by very far the largest renewable energy source in the world.
More than 90% of the world's renewable electricity comes from dams. Hydropower also offers
unique possibilities to manage the power network by its ability to quickly respond to peak
demands. Pumping-storage plants, using power produced during the night, while the demand is
low, is used to pump water up to the higher reservoir. That water is then used during the peak
demand period to produce electricity. This system today constitute the only economic mass
storage available for electricity.

Water supply for domestic and industrial use:

It has been stressed how essential water is for our civilization. It is important to remember that of
the total rainfall falling on the earth, most falls on the sea and a large portion of that which falls
on earth ends up as runoff. Only 2% of the total is infiltrated to replenish the groundwater.
Properly planned, designed and constructed and maintained dams to store water contribute
significantly toward fulfilling our water supply requirements. To accommodate the variations in
the hydrologic cycle, dams and reservoirs are needed to store water and then provide more
consistent supplies during shortages.

Industry facilities like this power plant need million of litters per day. A city like Mumbai in India (16
million inhabitants) need 4300 millions of litters per day (lpd) Melbourne in Australia (4million
inhabitants) needs around 1000 millions lpd and Paris in France needs some 700 millions lpd. In each of
thes examples, water would not be provided without dams.
Inland navigation

Natural river
conditions, such as
changes in the flow
rate and river level,
ice and changing river
channels due to
erosion and
sedimentation, create
major problems and
obstacles for inland
navigation. The
advantages of inland
navigation, however,
when compared with
highway and rail are
the large load carrying
capacity of each
barge, the ability to
handle cargo with
large-dimensions and
fuel savings.
Enhanced inland
navigation is a result
of comprehensive
basin planning and
development utilizing
dams, locks and
reservoirs which are
regulated to provide a
vital role in realizing
regional and national
economic benefits. In
addition to the
economic benefits, a
river that has been
developed with dams
and reservoirs for
navigation may also

Large shipment of goods move the locks and dams on inland
waterways, such as this tow, on the lower part of the picture.
provide additional
benefits of flood
control, reduced
erosion, stabilized
groundwater levels
throughout the system
and recreation.

Flood control

Floods can cause major damage to humans lives, property, and livestocks.
Cities and towns have been devastated due to flood damage. Lives have bees
lost and homes destoyed. Flooding can cause epidemics due to sewer
disposal and contamined water supplies. Dams can play a role in limiting
the extent of flood damages
Dams and reservoirs
can be effectively used
to regulate river levels
and flooding
downstream of the dam
by temporarily storing
the flood volume and
releasing it later. The
most effective method
of flood control is
accomplished by an
integrated water
management plan for
regulating the storage
and discharges of each
of the main dams
located in a river basin.
Each dam is operated
by a specific water
control plan for routing
floods through the
basin without damage.
This means lowering of
the reservoir level to
create more storage
before the rainy season.
This strategy
eliminates flooding.
The number of dams
and their water control
management plans are
established by
planning for economic
development and with
public involvement.
Flood control is a
significant purpose for
many of the existing
dams and continues as
a main purpose for
some of the major
dams of the world
currently under

eservoir, an open-air storage area (usually formed by masonry or earthwork)
where water is collected and kept in quantity so that it may be drawn off for use.
Changes in weather cause the natural flow of streams and rivers to vary greatly with time.
Periods of excess flows and valley flooding may alternate with low flows or droughts. The role
of water-storage reservoirs, therefore, is to impound water during periods of higher flows, thus
preventing flood disasters, and then permit gradual release of water during periods of lower
flows. Simple storage reservoirs were probably created early in human history to provide water
for drinking and for irrigation. From southern Asia and northern Africa the use of reservoirs
spread to Europe and the other continents.
Reservoirs ordinarily are formed by the construction of dams across rivers, but off-channel
reservoirs may be provided by diversion structures and canals or pipelines that convey water
from a river to natural or artificial depressions.
When streamflow is impounded in a reservoir, the flow velocity decreases and sediment is
deposited. Thus, streams that transport much suspended sediment are poor sites for reservoirs;
siltation will rapidly reduce storage capacity and severely shorten the useful life ... (200 of 679

What is the difference between a dam and a
The dam is the object made to hold back the water flow. The reservoir is the collected water that
is held back by the dam.
Both words can carry the same meaning, but the word 'dam' can also mean the blockage that
creates a reservoir. A reservoir can be any pool (like 'of knowledge' or 'of talent').
Water Dikes

Dikes used to hold back water are usually made of earth. Sometimes, dikes occur naturally. More often,
people construct dikes to prevent flooding. When constructed along river banks, dikes control the flow
of water. By preventing flooding, dikes force the river to flow more quickly and with greater force.

The most familiar material used to build or augment dikes is the sandbag. People will fill cloth bags with
sand and pile the sandbags along a river bank or lake shore. The cloth and sand absorb the water, letting
very little pass through. Sandbags are very heavy and usually stay in place. Dikes made of sandbags can
be many meters tall and twice as wide. They can be built quickly, which is why people living near rivers
will start sandbagging as soon as heavy rains start to fall.

Enormous construction equipment can also help build dikes. Bulldozers and dredging machines haul in
sand and soil from different areas to a specific line along a body of water. This isolates one part of a river,
lake, or ocean from the larger body of water. Once the new dike is established, water from the isolated
part is drained out of the area. The land on the drained side of the dike is no longer a body of water.

These dikes, which can be hundreds of miles long, are usually used to create farmland or residential
space from a lakebed or even the ocean. The nation of the Netherlands has reclaimed more than a
thousand hectares of land from the North Sea by constructing dikes along many tidal basins. The Dutch,
people from the Netherlands, use the reclaimed land, called polders, for agriculture, residential, and
industrial use. The first dikes in the Netherlands were constructed in the 1200s, and the country
continues to maintain and expand the dike system today. In fact, dike is a Dutch word that originally
meant the bank of a body of water.

What is a spillway?
by The Brazos River Authority
A spillway part of a dam that is designed to allow water to flow freely over the dam during floods.
Spillways may be used on dams with floodgates as an additional means to control release of water
during flooding. A spillway may also be used as the main area of water release from a dam, allowing
water to flow through the spillway only when the reservoir is full.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A sluice gate

Sluice gates near Henley, on the River Thames

A small wooden sluice in Magome, Japan, used to power a waterwheel

Miners working a small sluice on Lucky Gulch, Alaska
A sluice (from the Dutch "sluis") is a water channel controlled at its head by a gate. A mill race,
leet, flume, penstock or lade is a sluice channelling water toward a water mill. The terms sluice,
sluice gate, knife gate, and slide gate are used interchangeably in the water and wastewater
control industry.
A sluice gate is traditionally a wood or metal barrier sliding in grooves that are set in the sides of
the waterway. Sluice gates commonly control water levels and flow rates in rivers and canals.
They are also used in wastewater treatment plants and to recover minerals in mining operations,
and in watermills.
"Sluice gate" refers to a movable gate allowing water to flow under it. When a sluice is lowered,
water may spill over the top, in which case the gate operates as a weir. Usually, a mechanism
drives the sluice up or down. This may be a simple, hand-operated, chain pulled/lowered, worm
drive or rack-and-pinion drive, or it may be electrically or hydraulically powered.
Types of sluice gates
Flap sluice gate: A fully automatic type, controlled by the pressure head across it; operation is
similar to that of a check valve. It is a gate hinged at the top. When pressure is from one side, the
gate is kept closed; a pressure from the other side opens the sluice when a threshold pressure is
Vertical rising sluice gate: A plate sliding in the vertical direction, which may be controlled by
Radial sluice gate: A structure, where a small part of a cylindrical surface serves as the gate,
supported by radial constructions going through the cylinder's radius. On occasion, a
counterweight is provided.
Rising sector sluice gate: Also a part of a cylindrical surface, which rests at the bottom of the
channel and rises by rotating around its centre.
Needle sluice: A sluice formed by a number of thin needles held against a solid frame through
water pressure as in a needle dam.
The gates of a Guillotine lock work in a way similar to a sluice gate, but most canal lock gates
are hinged to swing like doors.
Logging sluices
See also: Log driving and Timber rafting
In the mountains of the United States, sluices transported logs from steep hillsides to downslope
sawmill ponds or yarding areas. Nineteenth-century logging was traditionally a winter activity
for men who spent summers working on farms. Where there were freezing nights, water might
be applied to logging sluices every night so a fresh coating of slippery ice would reduce friction
of logs placed in the sluice the following morning.