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Hydrology and Hydraulics



Research in hydrology and hydraulics covers the following areas of interest:

  • Statistical and Stochastic Hydrologic Analyses
  • Flash Flood Forecasting and Flood Predictions
  • Surface Water and River Flow Modeling Techniques
  • Urban Storm Water Modeling and Mitigation
  • Storm Water Best Management Practices
  • Laminar and Turbulent Flow Numerical Simulations
  • Pipe Network Simulation and Analysis
  • Risk Analysis and Optimization Techniques

Faculty engineering experience in hydrology and hydraulics includes:

  • Highway Drainage Systems
  • Watershed Master Drainage Planning
  • Storm Water Detention and Retention System Design and Analysis
  • Infiltration Practices for Groundwater Recharge or Storm Water Quality Control
  • River Floodplain Management and Encroachment Modeling
  • Flood Damage and Risk-cost Analysis


On-Campus Stormwater Test Site
Since 2007, Parking Lot K on campus was converted into a test site for storm water study. The main purpose for this project is to conduct prototype tests on innovative concepts and new construction materials developed for storm water best management practices. This project is sponsored by the Urban Drainage and Flood Control District, Denver, Colorado.

Porous Detention Basin Study
Rain gardens are often used as an on-site detention basin for runoff volume reduction. This research project is sponsored by the Urban Watersheds Research Institute to investigate how to incorporate urban waste material into the 2-layered filtering media underneath the basin bottom. The findings from this project have been incorporated into the Urban Stormwater Design Criteria Volume 3, The technical paper and reports for this study can be found at

Street Hydraulics and Inlet Sizing

Starting in 2006 through 2011, Colorado Department of Transportation and Urban Drainage and Flood Control District jointly sponsor this research project to investigate street inlet hydraulics. A new methodology was developed to size Type 13 and 16 street inlets with consideration of the decay nature of clogging effect. The reports and technical papers for this study can be found at

Faculty Information

James Guo, Professor
Hydrology and Hydraulics Engineering
Phone: 303-556-2849
Office: North Classroom 3021 D
Web site:

PhD Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1982
MS Civil Engineering from the National Taiwan University in 1976
BS Hydraulic Engineering from the National Cheng-Kung University in 1974

Research topics:

  • Numerical Simulation of Laminar and Turbulent Flows
  • Pipe Network Modeling
  • River and Floodplain Hydraulics
  • Urban Watershed Management
  • Stormwater Modeling
  • Flood Control
  • Highway Drainage
  • Optimization and Value Engine

Dr. Guo has published more than 50 journal articles in the areas of his research interests. His work has been accepted as design criteria in the design manuals used by metropolitan Denver and Las Vegas. Dr. Guo received the 2006 ASCE Best Technical Paper Award.


The Hydraulic Laboratory was established in early 1980s. The laboratory was designed to provide teaching and research needs. The two channel flumes, 12- and 24-inch wide, are equipped with pumps and circulation systems that produce open channel flows on an adjustable slope to study back water profiles, hydraulic jumps, weir and orifice flows. The pipe network panel allows students to conduct tests on pipe friction and energy losses through various valves. The air tunnel apparatus produces turbulent air flows through a steel pipe of 20 feet long.

Students will learn how to measure flow velocity and pressure difference using manometers, pressure gauges, and pito-tubes. The Hydraulics Laboratory is also used to conduct bench-scale tests on storm water related studies, including infiltration tests, clogging measurement, and calibration of street inlet capacity.

Related Courses

Courses Related to Research Studies

Text Books

CVEN-5336 Urban Runoff (Quality and Quantity) Modeling This course covers: (1) rain gage operation and data correction; (2)design rainfall distribution, including SCS Types I and II and Denver’s curves; (3)statistical models using exponential, Gumbel, log-normal, and log-Pearson III; (4)synthetic unit hydrographs using SCS and CUHP methods; (5)Kinematic wave method using EPA SWMM5, (6) urban drainage system modeling using flow diversion, stormwater detention, and pump stations; (7)concept of master drainage planning and alternative analysis; and (8)modeling consistency and sensitivity analyses.
Prereq: CVEN 3323, upper division, graduate, or instructor approval
Urban Hydrology and Hydraulic Design by James C.Y. Guo, Water Resources Publication, Phone: 800-736-2405 / Fax: 800-616-1971
CVEN-5343 Open Channel Hydraulics This course covers: (1) classification of channel flows; (2)basic principles; (3)gradually varied flow for backwater analysis; (4)spatially and rapidly varied flows for hydraulic jumps and drops; (5)channel design criteria; (6)grade control using drop structures; (7)concrete channel design; (8)grass channel design; (9)riprap channel design; (10)composite channel design; (11)energy dissipation; and (12)inlet and outlet protection.
Prereq: CVEN 3323, upper division, graduate, or instructor approval
Urban Flood Channel Design by James C.Y. Guo, Water Resources Publication, Phone: 800-736-2405 / Fax: 800-616-1971
CVEN-5427 Storm Water System DesignThis course covers: (1) hydrologic analysis for small urban catchments; (2)concept of flood frequency; (3)design rainfall statistics; (4)rational method for peak flow prediction; (5) urban drainage systems and design criteria; (6)culvert hydraulics; (7)street hydraulics for conveyance and storage capacities; (8)street inlet sizing using grates and curb openings; (9)storm sewer system design; and (10)determination of hydraulic grade and energy grade lines.
Prereq: CVEN 3233, , upper division, graduate, or instructor approval
Street Drainage System Design
by James C.Y. Guo, Water Resources Publication, Phone: 800-736-2405 / Fax: 800-616-1971
CVEN-6353 Flood Detention and Retention Design This course covers: (1) urbanization impact on watershed regime; (2)preservation of watershed regime; (3) flood control detention volume; (4)outlet structure design; (5) water quality control volume and stormwater BMPs, including bio-retention, sand filters, and wetlands; (6)low impact designs, including porous pavement and landscaping basins; (7)riparian systems and stream restoration; (8)urban re-development and retrofitting stormwater systems; (9)life cycle assessment; and (10)risk and reliability analysis.
Prereq: CVEN 4427/5427, graduate, or instructor approval
Urban Hydrology and Hydraulic Design
by James C.Y. Guo, Water Resources Publication, Phone: 800-736-2405 / Fax: 800-616-1971

For complete, up-to-date course descriptions, visit the CU Denver academic catalog and search for the course numbers listed above.