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Institute of Hydraulic Research

The Institute of Hydraulic Research (in Portuguese, Instituto de Pesquisas Hidraulicas, IPH) is the institution responsible for teaching, research and


extension activities in hydraulics, water resources and the natural environment. The institute at UFRGS was set up in 1953, initially for research and consulting in physical models of river and coastal hydraulic works, and to provide support for engineering courses in its teaching and laboratories. When UNESCO set up a post-graduate program in 1969, IPH activities in teaching, research and extension expanded even further to include providing services to the community. Within its sphere, IPH sets the standard not only in Brazil but also throughout Latin America, whilst maintaining international ties with countries in almost all the continents.

All IPH activity is focused on water: its use, protection, and issues related to conservation, treatment and environmental quality. As a substance universally essential for life and well-being, water has an ever-increasing importance. This requires skilled people and institutions that are well fitted to deal with difficult problems, and all IPH activity is undertaken in this spirit.

Undergraduate Programs

Since 2006, IPH has been responsible (together with the School of Engineering) for the undergraduate program in Environmental Engineering, and its program in Water Engineering is due to start in 2012. The annual intake for the former program is 30 students, and the intake for the latter will be 25. Overall, however, IPH gives lectures for 12 graduation courses (Agricultural and Life Science, Architecture and Urban Planning, Marine Biology, Environmental Engineering, Cartographic Engineering, Civil Engineering, Materials Engineering, Mining Engineering, Production Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Metallurgical Engineering, Geography and Geology) with about 2000 students enrolled each year. When the program in Water Engineering begins, IPH will be contributing to 13 undergraduate programs.

IPH also runs a Technical Course in Hydrology with an annual input of 20 students who train to become Hydrological Technicians, and this course is highly regarded throughout the whole of Latin America.

Graduate Programs

IPH has a Post-Graduate Program in Water Resources and Environmental Sanitation since 1969, when Masters courses were initiated. A Doctorate course began in 1989, which is highly regarded both nationally and internationally.

There are three main lines of research at graduate level, all concerned with water and the natural environment:

- Study and Modeling of Water Processes;
- Use and Control of Water Resources;
- Evaluation, Protection and Management of Water Resources.

Areas of Activity

  • Surface Hydrology: Hydrological models, forecasting and control of floods and droughts, urban hydrology, regionalization of river flow characteristics, hydrometry, eco-hydrology, river and lake hydrology, climate change.
  • Hydrogeology: Hydrogeology of fractured rocks, study of coastal and continental aquifers, modeling of groundwater flows and transported material; prevention and mitigation of contamination in aquifers, evaluation of environmental risk.
  • Erosion and sedimentation: production and transport of sediment within drainage basins, transport of sediment in rivers and canals, sediment deposition in reservoirs, density currents and coastal sedimentation.
  • Irrigation and drainage: physics and hydrology of soils, soil-plant-water relations, irrigation and drainage systems, agro-hydrological models, crop water requirements, forecasting yield under water stress.
  • Environmental Sanitation: Treatment of water and domestic waste, disposal of solid waste, treatment of industrial waste, water, air and soil quality models, environmental impact studies, indices of sustainability; sanitation in aquaculture and bio-energy, applied limnology and environmental preservation.
  • Remote sensing and geo-processing for water resources: automatic classification of satellite digital images, use of satellite imagery in water resources and environmental studies.
  • Fluid mechanics and hydraulics: physical (reduced scale) models; 1D, 2D and 3D mathematical models of flow, hydrodynamic and transport phenomena, modeling of turbulent flows, simulation and properties of density currents, studies of structures and hydraulic machines; Instrumentation.
  • Planning and management of water resources: decision support systems in water resources, design and optimal development for water resource systems, optimal operation of water resource systems, management instruments, simulations of source and charging mechanisms for water use, management for integrated environmental evaluation of river basins, neural network techniques, fuzzy logic and multivariate analysis in the integrated planning of water resource systems. Environmental improvement.

Laboratories for Research and Development

IPH has more than 80 projects each year in Research, Research and Development, and Extension, in partnership with public and private bodies, with wide scientific and social implications. The research program are a result of the creative capacity and initiative of IPH professors, who help to enriches teaching, equips laboratories, and develops student ability and confidence. The IPH has a number of research groups within each line of its graduate program, and the scientific agendas of its sectors and laboratories.


  • Laboratory for Erosion and Deposition Processes
  • Laboratory for Study Groups in Density Currents
  • Hydraulic Teaching Laboratory
  • Hydraulic Works Laboratory
  • Laboratory for Energy Efficiency and Hydraulics in Sanitation
  • Hydrometry Laboratory
  • Sedimentation Laboratory
  • Water and Soil Engineering Laboratory
  • Laboratory for Eco-Technology and Limnology
  • Laboratory for Environmental Technology
  • Laboratory for the Urban Waters Centre
  • Instrumentation and Velocity Channel Laboratory

Main Research Groups

  • Centre for Urban Waters
  • Climate and Water Resources
  • Erosion and Sedimentation in River Basins
  • Density Currents in Petroleum Research
  • Advanced Technologies in Environmental Sanitation
  • Hydrological System of the Taim Wetland
  • Project for forecasting in Amazonia
  • Planning and Management of Water Resources
  • Hydraulic Structures




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