101-0258-00L  River Engineering

SemesterAutumn Semester 2021
LecturersV. Weitbrecht, I. Schalko, K. Sperger
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish


101-0258-00 GRiver Engineering2 hrs
Wed15:45-17:30HIL E 8 »
V. Weitbrecht, I. Schalko, K. Sperger

Catalogue data

AbstractThe lecture addresses the fundamentals of river engineering to quantitatively describe the flow of water, transport of sediment and wood, and morphological changes such as erosion and deposition processes associated with river structures. In addition, design guidelines for river engineering structures are introduced.
ObjectiveAt the end of the course, the students will be able to:
- recall and describe the fundamentals of transport processes in rivers,
- apply different calculation approaches and methods to tackle river engineering problems and tasks such as the discharge capacity of a river, scour estimation, or sediment budget of a river,
- design and dimension river engineering works needed to influence the processes in watercourses, and
- determine the interaction between flow (discharge), sediment transport, wood transport and the resulting channel evolution.
ContentThe first part of the lecture introduces the fundamentals of river engineering, such as methods to determine and calculate the river discharge, or sampling methods to characterize the bed material. In addition, the transport processes of sediment (bedload and suspended load) and wood in rivers will be examined, including the principles of incipient motion, and initiation of erosion or deposition processes.

In the second part of the lecture, the methods will be explained to quantify the bed load budget and the morphological changes (erosion, deposition) in river systems. Specifically, natural channel formation processes, different bed forms and plan forms of rivers (straight, meandering, braided) are examined.

The last part of the lecture focuses on the design of river engineering structures, including examples from an ongoing flood and river revitalization project at the Alpine Rhine in Austria and Switzerland.
Lecture notesHandouts and powerpoint presentations shown in the lecture can be downloaded via Moodle.
Literature1. «Flussbau» lecture notes of fall semester 2020 by Dr. Gian Reto Bezzola (available only in German at VAW teaching assistance)

2. Erosion and Sedimentation; Pierre Y. Julien

3. River Mechanics; Pierre Y. Julien
Prerequisites / NoticeRecommended lectures:
Hydrology (102-0293-AAL), Hydraulics I (101-0203-01L), and Hydraulic Engineering (101-0206-00L).

Short practical exercises (voluntary) will be offered throughout the semester to improve the application of the learned subjects.

Performance assessment

Performance assessment information (valid until the course unit is held again)
Performance assessment as a semester course
ECTS credits3 credits
ExaminersV. Weitbrecht, I. Schalko, K. Sperger
Typesession examination
Language of examinationEnglish
RepetitionThe performance assessment is offered every session. Repetition possible without re-enrolling for the course unit.
Mode of examinationwritten 75 minutes
Additional information on mode of examinationIn addition to the written exam, optional learning tasks in form of short exercises, distributed evenly over the semester, are offered. If 5 out of 8 exercises are solved in a meaningful and comprehensive way, a bonus of 0.25 grading points is added to the final course unit grade. This bonus expires as soon as the course is offered again.
Written aidsNo aids allowed, except for a simple, non-programmable calculator.
A previously introduced formula sheet is handed out during the examination.
This information can be updated until the beginning of the semester; information on the examination timetable is binding.

Learning materials

No public learning materials available.
Only public learning materials are listed.


No information on groups available.


There are no additional restrictions for the registration.

Offered in

Civil Engineering MasterMajor in Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources ManagementOInformation
Spatial Development and Infrastructure Systems MasterRecommended Electives of Master Degree ProgrammeWInformation
Spatial Development and Infrastructure Systems MasterNetwork InfrastructureWInformation
Environmental Engineering MasterRiver SystemsOInformation
Environmental Engineering MasterEM: River SystemsWInformation