Hydropower Water Conduit Design

IHE Delft Hydropower

Target Audience

The course is designed for scientists, engineers involved in hydropower design and water resources management, or interested in these topics. Basic knowledge of hydraulic and structural engineering is a prerequisite for joining this course.


This short course provides theoretical understanding and practical insights to geotechnical, hydraulic and structural design of the power waterway in global, but also in its particular parts. The course deals with parameters needed for optimal design, theoretical design background and practical design examples

The hydropower water conduit system or the power waterway transfers water from the reservoir to the powerhouse and into the downstream reservoir/river. The main parts of the water conduit system are: intake structure, gates, open channel, free flow channel and/or pressurised tunnel, surge tank, penstock and different auxiliary structures such as: settling basin, bifurcations or safety equipment. The power waterway is not only a costly part of the hydropower project, but also the part that connects other main project parts and stretches over nearly whole project area. Therefore appropriate design is a matter of economy and safety, but also an issue technical applicability, ecological acceptability and sustainability.

Course content
The course addresses the entire cycle of the power waterway planning and designing. Specific contents are:

– Introduction and planning (project stages)
– Layout selection (topology, geology) and parts of water conduit system
– Hydraulics (design of structures, losses, transient calculations)
– Civil design of structures (Intakes and settling basins, Free surface waterways (channel and pipes with free surface flow), Presurised waterways (unlined, concrete-lined, reinforced lined, steel lined), Special structures (gates and valves, surge tanks, bifurcations))
– Costs analyses
– Environmental aspects

Learning Objectives

Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
– select proper power waterway type and layout integrating geological, geomorphological and hydraulic characteristics of the site
– implement hydraulic and structural design of the power waterway and all their parts
– predict the construction and operational costs of the power waterway and identify the environmental impacts of the power waterway
– implement knowledge in practical design of the hydropower schemes