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Hydraulic structures engineering: An evolving science in a changing world

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Abstract Hydraulic structures are critical for water management. Yet many structures continue to be neglected, in poor condition, and inadequate in adapting to evolving societal challenges associated with shifting climatic events and population growth. In this context, hydraulic structures engineering should be moving from traditional design considerations toward sustainability, that is, continuing to meet current and future social, environmental, and economic needs. This requires this community to embrace and help advance global and multidisciplinary perspectives. Therefore, this article presents the authors' point of view on current trends, concerns, and needs related to hydraulic structures engineering. Furthermore, the authors propose a new, forward‐looking framework for the consideration of the hydraulic structures community that is grounded on the evolution of interconnected research tools and methodologies in addition to emphasizing and bolstering strong links between academia and industry. The evolution of this framework has naturally originated from the pervasive challenge of validating the design and operation of hydraulic structures in the field for frequent and extreme conditions. The authors suggest that future developments of hydraulic structures engineering require (a) continuous updating of complementary tools and methodologies following technological developments, (b) addressing the lack of detailed field observations, (c) increasing interactions of hydraulic specialists with other scientific disciplines and water experts, and (d) restoring a strong collaboration between academia and industry. It is anticipated that in this way the hydraulic structures community, and all of society, will make a new step toward more sustainable and resilient interactions with nature and between communities in water management. This article is categorized under: Engineering Water > Engineering Water
Proposed sustainability framework for hydraulic structures engineering
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Evolution of spillway crests: (a) broad crest at Oredon dam (France), built in 1870–1883; (b) ogee crest at Oule dam (France) built in 1950; (c) piano key weir at Malarce dam (France) built in 2014; (d) staged labyrinth weir at Linville Land Harbor (USA) built in 2009. (a–c): S. Erpicum; (d): L. Shearin‐Feimster)
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Hydraulic scale model of the 90 m high Marèges dam (France)—The model was built at the dam construction site—Dam construction from 1930 to 1935. (a) Picture from 1933 showing a general overview of the physical model with both spillways in operation and (b) ruins of the left bank spillway (S. Erpicum)
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Tools of hydraulic structures engineering development and evolution
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