72757 - Advanced Hydrosystems Engineering

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Clean water and sanitation Industry, innovation and infrastructure Sustainable cities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

A successful learner from this course will be able to: a) deal with the most actual and urgent hydraulic and environmental problems connected with water supplies and drainage systems; design and operate urban water systems, taking into account: i) advanced design procedures and technological findings; ii) environmental and economic issues; and iii) construction site aspects; the b) apply basic modelling and computational techniques for addressing reliability analysis and risk assessment in civil engineering, with special emphasis on the water sector.

Course contents

Requirements/Prior knowledge

Knowledge on the basic concepts of hydraulics and the preliminary understanding of calculus and probability theory are necessary to participate profitably in this course. Spoken and written English is a necessary prerequisite: all lessons and exercises and all the study material will be in English.


Course Contents

MODULE 1 - Pressurized Water Systems

Water distribution systems

General aspects of water supply systems. Water distribution modeling. Water consumption modeling. Operations and control of water distribution systems. Water quality and modeling. Energy management. Water losses monitoring and control. Design criteria of resilient water supply systems.

Pressurized irrigation systems

MODULE 2 - Open channel systems

Urban drainage systems

Open channel irrigation systems

Energy recovery and efficiency in hydraulic systems

Basics of hydropower generation. Energy recovery in hydraulic systems. Water – energy nexus.

MODULE 3 - Uncertainty & Risk in Hydraulic Systems

1) Introduction. Syllabus. Objectives. Starting definitions on risk and uncertainty, also applied to hydrosystems. Introduction to risk analysis. Introductory concepts in probability theory. Conditional probability.

2) Reliability. Reliability measures. State variable. Time to failure. Reliability function. Mean time to failure distributions: exponential and Weibull. Failures, failure classification, failure causes classification. Failure modes: pump, water tap, further examples. Reparable systems. Repair probability, density and rate. Mean time to repair. Availability. Mean time between failures. System reliability: series and parallel configuration. Redundancy. Example calculations. Overview of techniques in reliability analysis: RBA, FT, MC. Pipe breaks and reliability analysis of a water supply system.

3) FMECA: Failure Modes, Effects, and Criticality Analysis model. Overview, purpose, approaches, main steps. FMECA: system structure analysis and worksheets. Risk priority numbers and criticality analysis. Severity, occurrence, and detection classifications. Application to pumping stations.

4) FTA. FTA main steps. FTA preparation. Boundary conditions, assumptions and limitations. FTA construction and logic symbols. Identification of top event. Adding events. Examples. Boolean algebra. Boolean operations, functions and expressions. Duality. Laws of boolean algebra. Rules of boolean algebra. Logic gates. Exercises on Boolean algebra. Fault tree analysis structure. Applications. Minimal cutsets. Properties of cut sets. Cut set examples. Finding cut sets: top-down and bottom-up approaches. Importance measures. Calculation of probability of failure and importance measures. Application of FTA to groundwater contamination.

5) Seminars on Reliability and Uncertainty Quantification in Environmental Modeling.


T. M. WALSKY, D.V. CHASE, D.A. SAVIC Water distribution modeling, 1st Edition, Heasted press, 2001.
D. BUTLER, J. W. DAVIES Urban Drainage, 3rd Edition, Spon press, 2011.
Y.-K- TUNG, B.C. YEN, C. S. MALCHING Hydrosystems Engineering Reliability Assessment and Risk Analysis, , Mc Graw Hill, 2005

Teaching methods

Lectures, tutorials, expert seminars and laboratory visits. In-class exercises and home assignments, including spreadsheets/computer programming and use of specific software.

The contents of Module 2 and 3 are entirely covered by the lectures. For the Module 1 the lectures are integrated with chapters of the indicated bibliography and some papers.

Assessment methods

Achievements will be assessed by means of a final exam. This is based on an analytical assessment of the "expected learning outcomes" described above.

The final grade of the class Advanced Hydrosystems Engineering (AHE) is given by the weighted average of Modules 1, 2 and 3.

The examination of Module 1 (Water Distribution Systems) and Module 2 (Urban Drainage Systems) is composed of three different sections: i) homeworks; ii) written exam (without the aid of notes or books); iii) oral colloquium. The written test consists in open questions and short exercises. In the oral colloquium, the student discusses the written test result and answers to additional questions. The homeworks are explained and assigned during the lectures and their delivery is required in order to take part to the written examination of Module 1 and 2.

The examination of Module 3 (uncertainty and risk in hydraulic systems) is composed of two different sections: i) homework; ii) written exam, each having equal weight towards the final evaluation.

The homework is assigned during the lectures and is verified at the end of the course. The final written exam is administered at the end of the semester and at regular interval throughout the year (6 times).

The homework consists of a single project applying the course contents to hydraulic systems, including reliability block diagrams and Fault Tree Analysis with importance measures.

The written exam consist of a test, duration 1-2 hours, on the conceptual aspects of the course.

Higher grades will be awarded to students who demonstrate a physical understanding of the subject, high quantitative skills, and a clear and concise presentation of the contents.

To obtain a passing grade, students are required to at least demonstrate a knowledge of the key concepts of the subject, some quantitative skills, and a comprehensible use of technical language.

A failing grade will be awarded if the student shows knowledge gaps in key-concepts of the subject, scarce physical understanding, and no quantitative skills.

Teaching tools

For slides, presentations and lecture notes on the topics covered during the course go to the platform for teaching support service Insegnamenti OnLine.

Computer codes used for the exercises are:

Module 1 - Water Supply Systems
EPANET - Hydraulic and water quality behavior of water distribution systems

Module 2 - Urban Drainage Systems
SWMM - Storm Water Management Model

Office hours

See the website of Cristiana Bragalli

See the website of Vittorio Di Federico