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Hydraulic Engineering

Hydraulic Engineering: San Antonio Riverwalk Municipal Flood Control

The San Antonio RiverWalk is a popular place for tourists and local Texans alike. The creation of the River Walk is a world-renowned engineering marvel that answered the question, “How do you handle a river flowing through an ever-growing city?”

An ASCE article recognized the completion of San Antonio RiverWalk and Flood Control System and its significance not only for the city of San Antonio but the impact it made on hydraulic engineering and other industries. The completion of this project made the city safer from devastating floods but also created a place for recreation, historic preservation, and commerce.

The article states, “San Antonio’s River Walk, a catalyst for abundant commercial and tourism enterprise, is generally regarded by cities and urban planners throughout the world as a prototype for the development of urban riverfront sites. The River Walk’s success, however, would not have been possible without a series of flood-control and architecture projects completed in the first half of the 20th century that relied heavily on civil-engineering expertise.”

A Landmark Study

San Antonio is in an area that is extremely susceptible to heavy rainfall and intense flooding. The risk is elevated because a river runs straight through the city. In 1920 a landmark hydraulic study was completed. This study still provides information that is used as San Antonio continues to grow. Along with this study, several construction and canal bypass projects were completed to make the San Antonio RiverWalk what we know today. 

Interdisciplinary Coordination

To implement safety protocols and create a usable space many different industries had to work together toward a common goal. The River Walk project included hydraulic engineers, civil engineers, architects, landscape designers, historians, and economic developers to name a few. The cohesive work of many different groups continues and results in an area that contributes over $2 billion each year to the local economy. 

Hydraulic Engineering at OEI

Originally founded around water resource management and engineering, OEI continues to specialize in hydraulic, hydrologic, and hydrodynamic analysis and design. We have a history of success working with a range of clients from public and private sectors to national clients. Effectively using analysis and modeling techniques allows OEI to clearly demonstrate the impact of hydraulic engineering choices to clients. Visit our projects page today to learn how OEI can provide the best engineering solution for your water resource management needs.