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ICAR02 - Hydraulic and Marine Constructions and Hydrology



The Research Group of Hydraulic and Marine Constructions and Hydrology at the DI (Engineering Department) mainly focuses on research and educational activities within the typical themes of hydrology, hydraulic and marine and coastal engineering, as well as in the field of remote sensing and GIS applied to hydrology and environment. The classical topics of Hydraulic Constructions, such as urban drainage systems and water supply systems, are addressed through new paradigms in which the hydraulic functioning, in terms of project reliability and robustness, is assessed with methods of operational research, statistics, environmental economy, risk analysis, and cost-benefits analysis. Coastal erosion protection systems and energy exploitation by sea waves are important research fields of the Group. Research activities in the field of Hydrology focus on physically-based and spatially-distributed modeling of hydrological processes, ecohydrology, statistical analysis of climatic variables, time-series analysis, uncertainty analysis modeling and analysis of hydrological changes induced by climate and land use changes. The research also deals with fundamental issues of soil protection, such as the analysis of hydrological extremes and the assessment, mitigation, and mapping of flood risk looking at those innovative aspects related to the analysis and the development of resilience especially in anthropic environments. The Group is also characterized by an intense experimental open field and lab activities aiming at hydrodynamic surveys in water bodies and continuous monitoring of weather and climate variables.

Current Research Topics:

  • Urban Hydraulic, Hydraulic and Marine Constructions: optimal management of large hydraulic systems and urban water networks; anti-seismic upgrading of water infrastructure; coastal anthropization and coastal protection; wave energy exploitation; coastal circulations modelling; mitigation and control of urban flooding risk; resilience; stakeholder engagement strategies; real-time control; reduction and management of water losses in aqueduct distribution networks; innovative systems for storing energy produced from renewable sources; physical and numerical modeling for ports and coastal protection infrastructures.
  • Hydrology and Hydrogeological Risk: development of hydroinformatic systems for water resource management and flood/landslide protection, based on artificial neural network, genetic algorithms, fuzzy logic and ICT techniques; time series analysis of climate variables and analysis of hydrological extremes (flash floods, heavy rainfall and extreme temperature); 1-2D flood propagation models in urban and extra-urban areas; ecohydrology; analysis of climate change and urbanization impacts; hydrological models and integration with slope stability models and soil erosion models; implementation within GIS environments of models for different phenomena (hydrological processes, forest fire propagation,etc.).
  • Environmental Monitoring and Remote Sensing: rainfall depth measurements at a point by means of traditional rain gauges, weighing rain gauges, and disdrometer; assessment of rainfall fields from remote sensors (radar and satellite); hydrological applications of meteorological radar in urban systems; measurements of flow velocity and discharge profiles in rivers by traditional and innovative (PIV, PTV, ADCP, etc.) techniques; measurements of soil moisture profiles and landslides monitoring through superficial soil displacement sensors; modeling of hydrologic variables by means of remote sensing data; precision irrigation and precision farming applications; analysis and monitoring of the dynamics of terrestrial vegetation, submerged vegetation and oil-spills into the sea; monitoring marine surface currents by means of ground based HF RADAR systems; monitoring water quality by means of remote sensing acquisitions.

List of the main funded research projects:

  • LIMNADI: Integrazione muLti-scopo di piccoli Invasi collinari per la laMiNAzione Delle pIene Progetti di ricerca finalizzati alla previsione e alla prevenzione dei rischi geologici,Ministero dell’Ambiente e della Tutela del Territorio e del Mare, 2018-2020.
  • CALYPSO - HF Radar Monitoring System and Response against Marine Oil Spills in the Malta Channel – P.O. Italia-Malta 2007-2013 (
  • SMARTWATERTECH - Smart Community per lo Sviluppo e l’Applicazione di Tecnologie di Monitoraggio e Sistemi di Controllo Innovativi per il Servizio Idrico Integrato - Bando MIUR "Idee progettuali per Smart Cities and Communities and Social Innovation"(D.D. 391 / 05, July 2012).  
  • SIMIT- THARSY, Tsunami HAzard Reduction System, Programme Interreg V-A Italia-Malta, 2014-2020.
  • ALADIN - Recupero di Acqua ed energia dispersa nel cicLo idrico integrAto. SalvaguarDia ambientale tramite Innovazione, moNitoraggio, ottimizzazione - PO FESR 2007/2013 Linea di intervento
  • Aquaknight - AQUA KNowledge and Innovation transfer for water savinG in tHe mediTerranean basin – 2011-2014 - Programme 2007-2013 Mediterranean Sea Basin ENPI-CBCMED
  • MITO - Multimedia Information for Territorial Objects - MIUR D.D. n. 274 del 15 febbraio 2013- PON-PAC 2013-2015
  • Progetto Bandiera RITMARE – 2013-2016 - Programma Nazionale della Ricerca finanziato da MIUR (
  • SistEma informativo integrato per l’acquisizione, geStione e condivisione di dati AMbientali per il supportO alle decisioni   -  SESAMO – 2011 - PO FESR 2007/2013 Linea di intervento
  • MEDIWAT: Sustainable management of environmental issues related to water stress in Mediterranean islands (2007-2013).
  • GOSAR: Optimal Management Of Water Supply Systems and Risk Analysis – Acquedotto Pugliese s.p.a. (2016-17)
  • MOGESA: Optimization Models for large Water supply Systems Management – Acquedotto Pugliese s.p.a. (2012-13)
  • Scientific Agreement “Attività di studio e ricerca per il monitoraggio idrologico e l’elaborazione di scale di deflusso” - with the Region Department of Water and Waste (RDWW) of Water Observatory Service of Sicilian Region - 17 Gennaio 2019.
  • Scientific Agreement “Attività di studio e ricerca volte a definire una metodologia per l’analisi degli effetti al suolo di eventi meteorici intensi su bacini di medie-elevata estensione e individuare gli strumenti modellistici appropriati per la previsione delle piene” with the Region Department of Water and Waste (RDWW) of Water Observatory Service of Sicilian Region, 2017-2018
  • Agreement “Redazione dello studio delle zone a rischio idraulico assoggettate alla normativa del piano di assetto idrogeologico (P.A.I.)” with the Municipality of Palermo, DD n.151 del 29/12/2016.
  • Scientific Agreement “Convenzione per studi applicativi e ricerche volti all'organizzazione ed aggiornamento del reticolo idrografico” with the Region Department of Water and Waste (RDWW) of Water Observatory Service of Sicilian Region – 2013-2014
  • Scientific Agreement “Convenzione per studi e ricerche in sinergia volti alla realizzazione  del sistema informativo idromorfologico” with the Region Department of Water and Waste (RDWW) of Water Observatory Service of Sicilian Region – 2013-2016

Keywords: ICAR02; Hydraulic and Marine Constructions and Hydrology; water resources management and protection from hydrogeological risk and coastal protection; climate change; remote sensing and GIS.