Waterways Engineering I



Nils Peter Huber






Wenjia Xu

Scientific staff


+49 241 80 25754


  Copyright: © IWW

Course description

Roughly 9 percent of the transport of goods in Germany is carried out on waterways. As a mode of transport, it supplements the transport infrastructure with economic transport options for specific important types of goods, is considered to be environmentally friendly by comparison and also has considerable capacity reserves. The functionality of waterways requires sophisticated hydraulic engineering facilities, which are among the most impressive in civil engineering in terms of size and complexity. However, waterways are also habitats, recreational areas, urban and cultural development axes. Thus, economic, ecological and social demands of a society culminate along waterways. In the professional fields of engineers and environmental scientists, there are many points of contact with waterways and waterways engineering.

Course content

  • importance of waterways as a mode of transport in Germany and Europe
  • legal basis and administration of the federal waterways
  • driving dynamics of inland vessels in rivers and canals
  • significance and design of inland navigation canals in the network of federal waterway
  • dams and weirs and their special challenges in terms of design, hydraulics and ecological continuity
  • construction and operation of locks and ship lifts in the past and present
  • methods for making large rivers navigable over large free-flowing stretches, also in the context of increasing environmental demands
  • aspects of sediment management on natural (river) waterways using the Rhine and Elbe as examples
  • selected examples of current and significant waterway projects

Learning Objectives

The students learn the basics of construction, maintenance and operation of the approximately 7,300 km of navigable rivers and canals of the federal government, which are of great national and international importance as a mode of transport and as an economic factor. In the process, they acquire special knowledge on the significance and functioning of the diverse waterway infrastructure, from rivers to waterways engineering structures. In particular, they will gain practical insights into the challenges of hydraulic engineering and how special issues are examined by current practice-oriented research. The technical contents are conveyed by means of many current examples and with this view into practice, background information as well as experiences from large, interdisciplinary demanding projects are passed on.


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