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Diploma in River Engineering

Learn the fundamentals of hydrodynamics and modelling river properties with this free online course.

Publisher: NPTEL
This free online course features various topics designed to explain how river dynamics affect our natural environment. With this course, you will learn the fundamentals of fluid mechanics, sediment properties in river systems, and how various river features are formed, such as scours and river systems’ uses. Through illustrations and case studies, you are taught how to protect and use this natural resource effectively.
Diploma in River Engineering
  • Duration

    10-15 Hours
  • Students

  • Accreditation






View course modules


This course on River Engineering aims at explaining the principles of river dynamics. This course introduces river engineering principles, covering basic knowledge, advanced knowledge, and finally, the design practice. Design practice is used in riverbank protection and planning for floods. The course will discuss the sediment’s physical properties covering shape, size distributions, terminal fall velocity, and suspended sediment mixtures. The course will discuss hydrodynamics, including mass conservation equations, momentums and energy equations, i.e. from 3 dimensional to 2-dimensional approximations like Saint-Venant equations. The river flood waves will be presented, covering celerity, diffusive waves, and loop rating curves with advanced knowledge on the flood waves. Next, the course will explain sediment transport in the rivers, covering the basics on near-bed hydraulics, bedload, suspended sediment concentrations, turbulence bursting, turbulent characteristics, morphology process, advanced sediment transport and the interventions of society, all in an integrated way. The next discussion area is dynamic river cycles, how rivers change due to hydrology, fluvial processes, the long-term morphology change, and the driving factors like society’s influence on the environment.

There are many mathematical modelling concepts and tools available to model natural river behaviour. Data collection technology that include global positioning systems (GPS), Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCP), measurement of sediment concentration and measurement of flow depth are to name a few. Would you like to know how to maintain the ecological health of rivers? By understanding its morphology and studying the illustrations given, you will begin to know how you can make a difference. The course will discuss specific energy, specific force and critical flow in a river flow system and how this energy dissipates. It explains the mass conservation equation and the linear momentum equation and their application in solving the ongoing river flow problems. Next, the flood wave celerity loop rating curve will be discussed, along with flash floods caused by dam break and the circumstances where you have a glacier lake outburst. Case studies will be presented on existing river systems and how to apply learned knowledge. Different types of representations like geometric similitudes, kinematic similitudes and dynamic similitude will be uncovered. The formation of scour holes utilising erosion processes and how vortex formations determine the final state of scours. Such knowledge about rivers will give you, the learner, the confidence to take appropriate action to implement and solve fundamental river engineering problems.

Rivers and dams are a significant source of fresh water supply for many towns and cities worldwide. The water that comes from them is useful for various purposes such as drinking, cleaning, washing, and irrigation. They also form natural corridors and economical modes of transportation. They have allowed many civilisations to thrive as their banks provide fertile soils that promote good crop production. River systems such as the Nile are famous for the support of life in a desert region. On the other hand, rivers can also cause havoc when their water engulfs the surrounding land causing floods and damage to plant life and infrastructure. Knowledge of River engineering helps society by enhancing the numerous benefits of river systems while mitigating their adverse effects on the environment. The specific areas that this course covers are the fundamentals of fluid mechanics, sediment properties in river systems, specific energy concepts, flow patterns, use of river systems and how various river features are formed, such as scours. Do you want to be part of the solution to saving our natural world? Start this course today, and help keep our natural resources viable!

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