Water Resources and Hydraulics Lab

At UNM, the environmental and water resources engineering programs are in the Civil Engineering Department. Specialization in environmental engineering or water resources engineering is offered as either a M.S. or a Ph.D.

Open Channel Hydraulics Laboratory

Water Volcano on Westside Albuquerque

What is Environmental Engineering?

The field of environmental engineering is broad, but the common element is that environmental engineers investigate and solve problems at the interface between humans and their environment. Environmental engineers work to make water safe to drink, properly treat and dispose of wastes, improve air quality, promote recycling and solid waste management, and clean up contaminated air, land, and water. Environmental engineers are also increasingly addressing issues of sustainability, energy, and resource recovery. The problems tackled by environmental engineers range from local to global.

What is Water Resources Engineering?

Water resource engineering solves the problems of moving water to where humans or nature need or want it. Water resource engineers design dams, canals, aqueducts, and waterways to bring water to urban populations or agricultural areas. They also design the catchments, arroyos, and other structures needed to keep society safe from floods. Water resource engineers are the experts that understand the hydrologic cycle, hydrology, hydraulics, groundwater flow patterns, and other aspects of water needed to bring water to and from where it is needed most.

hydraulics labThe lab’s centerpiece is a steel 8-foot by 50-foot tilting table with an articulated center 2.5 foot above the floor. The 8-foot width allows model channel curvature and junctions. Slope from the 0 to 10 percent is adjustable by hydraulic jacks. The table has a finform top face. The tilting table site above a 2 x 2-foot recirculation channel and 360 cubic-foot sump. A 6-inch, 10-HP air-cooled pump provides primary model flow. A 4-inch flexible pipe from a 5-HP submersible pump and a 2-inch flexible line from a ¼-HP submersible pump supply auxiliary flow. A 5-inch adjustable overhead pipe allows elevated delivery. Submersible structures are modeled in a 35 cubic-foot portable Plexiglas tank.

The lab makes extensive use of material salvaged from Sandia, Los Alamos and other UNM labs. Model components constructed of a sheet metal, wood and Plexiglas are assembled on the tilting table. Component recycling makes subsequent constructions less capital-intensive.

Discharge is measured with the following meters:

  • Marsh-McBirney Magnetic Flowmeter, Model 201
  • ISCO Ultrasonic Flow Transmitter, model 3410
  • Dieterich Standard Annubar Flow Sensor, model GCR25, with an Eagle Eye pneumatic local flow indicator
  • Teledyne Gurley Current Meters, models 622 and 625, with Teledyne Gurley Flow Velocity Indicator
  • model 1100, and AquaCalc Stream Flow Computer, model 5000, v.2.1