Water Resources Engineering - first edition

By Larry W. Mays. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Baffins Lane, Chichester, West Sussex PO19 1UD, UK: 2001: ISBN 0-471-29783-6: 258 208mm: xv + 761pp: Hardback: 64.50.

The definition of water resources engineering used by the author is very wide, embracing the engineering required for water supply management and water excess management (i.e. flood defence in the current UK parlance). The book has 17 chapters that are divided into four parts: Hydraulics; Hydrology; Engineering Design and Analysis for water supply; and Engineering Design and Analysis for flood control.

The first six chapters introduce hydraulic processes. Including an introduction to water resources engineering in Chapter 1. Chapter 2 provides a review of the basic fluid mechanics principles and these are taken further in Chapter 3. The following three chapters cover pressurized flow in pipes, open channel flow and groundwater flow. Between them they provide all the formulae used to calculate water flow, hydraulic gradients, energy losses in pipes and how to measure flow rates in a very wide variety of situations. Chapter 6 is devoted to groundwater flow and provides a comprehensive description of the subject. Rather strangely however, the use of groundwater sources for water supply or groundwater flooding problems are omitted from the later parts of the book. These chapters contain more differential equations than you can shake a stick at, and may be intimidating to the casual reader. However, whenever you need to calculate flow or energy losses through a pipe system, or flow in an open channel or through porous media all the equations you will ever need are here.

The following four chapters cover hydrology with an emphasis on surface water systems. Chapter 7 introduces hydrological processes and Chapter 8 describes the rainfall-runoff relationship. Chapter 9 describes flow routing and Chapter 10 addresses the use of probability and frequency analysis in hydrology.

The part of the book on engineering in water supply has three chapters. Chapter 11 covers water abstraction (withdrawals is the term used by the author) and uses, including drought management; Chapter 12 describes water distribution systems including pumps pipes and fittings, and the hydraulics of simple water supply systems. The author also includes the analysis of pumped systems with how to match the pump characteristics with the hydraulics of the supply system. Chapter 13 is concerned with the use of water for hydropower generation and includes multipurpose systems where power generation, water supply and floodwater storage are all involved.

The fourth section of the book is on flooding both on a catchment scale and in urban situations. Chapter 14 introduces the concept and need for flood control including flood plain management and cost-benefit analysis for flood defence works. Chapter 15 covers storm water control including the design and construction of sewers, channels and floodwater storage basins and Chapter 16 takes this subject to the street and highway level. The final chapter is devoted to the design of spillways and energy dissipation for flood control structures.

The production quality of this book is pleasing, from the feel of the paper to the clarity of the large number of excellent line drawings. The photographs are all black and white but nevertheless are clear and provide useful illustrations. An extensive and reader-friendly index can make or break the value of a textbook. In this instance the index extends to about 8.5 pages and passed my test for reader friendliness. No index of the authors of the cited works has been provided, however. Such an index is of use in literature searches, especially where the references to published works are given at the end of each chapter.

The book has been written as a text for undergraduate courses in hydraulics, hydrology, or water resources engineering and for graduate courses in water resources engineering design. The author's intent that the book should provide a useful teaching aid is obvious and he includes a series of flow diagrams suggesting the order in which the various chapters should be used according to the subject matter of a particular course. The book is based on the author's experience of teaching over the past 24 years at the University of Texas in Austin and at the Arizona State University. It is not surprising therefore that the examples used by the author and the references cited at the end of each chapter and all from the USA. The examples used are in both metric and non-metric units (beware US gallons!), which may be confusing to those of us now completely converted to the metric system. These may be disadvantages to the non-American reader. However, the book's many excellent qualities will overcome these shortcomings and I feel it will be a useful addition to the textbooks for aspiring water engineers and as a reference work for professionals. Inevitably the British reader will compare the book with Water Supply by Twort, Ratnayanka and Brandt (5th edition reviewed in JCIWEM ?date). This latter book concentrates on water supply, covering this subject much more broadly. Water Resources Engineering however, provides more details on the hydraulics and design of distribution and supply systems, and the two books are more complementary than in competition.

This review appeared in the Journal of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management 2002, Volume 16, No 2, page 156.

Copyright © CIWEM 2002


Eur Geol Eur Ing Professor F.C. Brassington BSc MSc CGeol FGS CEng MICE FCIWEM