Postgraduate Program in Water Resources and Environmental Engineering


Research fields

The program has two main research fields:

  1. Water Resources Engineering
  2. Environmental Engineering

1) Water Resources Engineering

Considering the experience acquired over the 45-year history of CEHPAR (Hydraulic and Hydrology Center Prof. Parigot de Souza), which was the basis for the creation of the Master’s Degree in Hydraulic Engineering, one of the characteristics of this area is related to the development of studies and projects for solutions of problems of Hydraulic Engineering and Hydrology.

This field has two distinct research lines regarding the approach to hydraulic problems, the first one is related to the solution of problems through analytical or physical modeling (Experimental Hydraulics), and the second related to the search for solutions through Mathematical and computational models (Computational Hydraulics).

The Experimental Hydraulics line was related to the issues involving projects and execution of hydraulic works, mainly the fluvial ones, with approach of particular aspects of such works as rockfill structures, energy dissipation, formation of vortices, aeration of flows, performance of hydraulic structures and others.


Another approach is based on aspects of hydraulics related to non-fluvial works, such as water distribution networks, hydraulic transients and industrial hydraulics, including hydraulic aspects associated with projects and environmental works. Coastal hydraulics was also the subject of the area.

Mathematical modeling was another nucleus of research interest, since general solutions to the problems related to the works described above can be obtained through the careful application of this tool, based on concepts of Computational Fluid Mechanics, non-permanent flow in channels And turbulence models. In this context, the impacts of dam rupture and computational modeling of estuaries and bays were concrete problems addressed in this area.

The second research approach, associated to the former Hydrological Engineering field, can be conceptualized as the set of methodologies, models and concepts that aim at the application of the principles of hydrology in the solution of practical engineering problems. Thus, the main research activities were based on activities related to hydrometry, flow and precipitation forecasting, remote sensing of hydrological variables, reservoir operation, hydrological regionalization, definition of design parameters for hydraulic works, analysis of risks associated with floods And droughts, sediment transport and other contaminants, and also the effects of anthropic changes on the hydrological cycle. Hydrological engineering is part of the engineering of water resources, this is understood as the application of engineering in the use of water for the present and future well-being of man. One of the most striking aspects of hydrological engineering is its essentially quantitative approach, a common feature of all engineers seeking to establish a cause-and-effect relationship not only to identify the variables that are influenced by a given perturbation in a system but, The magnitude of the change in each of the variables. For the development of techniques aimed at solving these problems, in addition to the hydrology discipline itself, a solid training in statistics, economics, fluid mechanics and, especially, given their quantitative character in mathematics, were essential.

The quantitative aspect is that it distinguishes these research activities from other correlates, however, of a more descriptive nature, such as ecology, hydrogeography, water law, natural resource management and policy, and environmental education. It is also important to emphasize the utilitarian nature of hydrological engineering, centered on the solution of practical problems, and its development is an example of applied research.

Due to this peculiar characteristic, the concept of the integrated system is of fundamental importance, which allows to simplify the analysis of complex phenomena as is the case of hydrological phenomena. A hydrological system is defined as a structure or a volume in the space that receives water and other substances from the external environment through its boundaries (inputs), operates internally and returns them in a modified form to the external environment (outputs). Thus, the use of systematic approach allows to decompose a very complex problem into several simpler sub-problems.

In order to represent the systems one can use models that are sets of equations (mathematical model) or physical structure (physical models), which preserve the cause-effect relationship between inputs and outputs and allow predictions about the outputs corresponding to a given input .

At PPGERHA, due to the aforementioned research interests, research was consolidated in stochastic hydrology; Deterministic hydrology; Planning, operation and management of risks of electric energy. The first two themes constitute a traditional division of Hydrological Engineering, with objectives and methods of analysis well known.

The third research theme is not traditional in the area of ​​Hydrological Engineering and is due to the fact that PPGERHA has maintained for many years very close links with the electric energy sector, through an agreement with Companhia Paranaense de Energia – COPEL. It is also justified by the fact that, in the case of hydroelectric systems, the problem of reliability of electricity supply is similar to that of reservoir flow regulation, which suggests the use of concepts and methods developed in time series theory and In particular in the stochastic theory of reservoirs for reliability analysis of electrical systems with predominance of hydroelectricity, as is the case in Brazil.

Therefore, in addition to participating in research projects focused on the electricity sector, these factors led several PPGERHA professors to develop research in energy studies, and several dissertations and publications were produced. In addition, two specialization courses on the subject (Planning, Operation and Commercialization in the Electric Energy Industry – CPOC and Technical Management of Electric Power Concessionaires) were offered.

The main interests on the topic Stochastic Hydrology can be synthesized in subjects such as: analysis of statistical properties of hydrological and meteorological variables; Frequency distribution of extremes; Methods of estimation of statistical parameters;Stochastic models for prediction; Time series and stochastic processes; Robust distributions; Investigation of regional characteristics of average and extreme values ​​of hydrological variables; Algorithms for spatial and temporal transfer of hydrological information;Regional frequency analysis; Asymptotic models for sample errors; Multivariate regional models; Reservoir stochastic theory, probability distributions of inflows, optimization of operating rules; Sensitivity analysis to variation of parameters; Generation of synthetic flow series.

Regarding the research topic Determination Hydrology, PPGERHA has developed research in the areas of development and analysis of rainfall, hydrodynamic and groundwater transformation models; Models of water quality, erosion and sediment transport;Atmospheric models of micro and mesoscale; Study of changes in water balance by reservoirs or urbanization; Evaporation and evapotranspiration, reconstitution of natural flows; Influence of reservoirs on flood propagation, flood control; Forecasting of flow and short-term precipitation; Urban drainage.

Finally, the topic of research in Production, Operation and Risk Management of Electric Energy has focused on issues related to: the decision on investment; The analysis of the competitiveness of energy sources; Variability in the availability of electricity; The ranking of expansion priorities; Planning and operation of hydrothermal systems; Marginal short- and long-term costs; Optimization of operating rules; Risk and cost analysis; Benefits of integration; To stochastic dynamic programming; Simulation models; Small hydroelectric plants; Methods of analytical energy assessment; Marketing models; To the risks of commercialization and to the spot market of energy.


Due to the great affinity between the themes Stochastic Hydrology and Planning, Operation and Risk Management of Electrical Energy and, due to the great intersection of teachers working in both approaches, besides the operationalization of scientific production, these two themes are grouped in a single line of research, denominated Stochastic Hydrology and Energy Studies.

It is also important to highlight the research activities associated to Hydroclimatology issues, considering aspects of climate change and impacts on Water Resources, with part of the research line in Stochastic Hydrology.

2. Environmental Engineering

The Environmental Engineering field, the most recent in the research structure of PPGERHA, was created with the purpose of allowing the academic training of professionals to understand the complex interactions that exist in ecosystems. This is based on a systemic approach oriented towards proposing solutions to environmental problems, based on the interesting but complex concept of environmental sustainability. In this area, subjects related to monitoring, environmental management and management, mathematical modeling related to pollution processes and waste of natural resources, drinking water supply systems, wastewater collection, transportation, treatment and disposal systems, As well as the management of solid domestic waste and construction.


At PPGEHRA, the Environmental Engineering field covers two lines of research, Environmental Systems Modeling, with emphasis on the mathematical modeling of parameters related to water quality; Environmental Sanitation, focused on the treatment processes to mitigate the impacts of pollutants on water and soil. More recently, research in the areas of Effluent Treatment, Clean Technology, Clean Development Mechanism and Management of Domestic Solid Waste and Construction have motivated students’ attention.

In this context, researchers have developed activities aimed at consolidating computational models to simulate environmental problems in rivers, reservoirs and water distribution networks. The objective has not only been to develop and adapt the numerical solutions to the problems of transporting contaminants in environmental systems, but to establish the importance of these tools for the Environmental Management processes.

The integration of these two lines of research is a peculiarity of PPGERHA, since it involves actors different from the academic community, such as governmental entities at the municipal and state levels, basin agencies and associations of users of hydrographic basins, as well as non-governmental organizations such as the Brazilian Association ABES, Brazilian Association of Water Resources – ABRH, Inter-American Association of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering – AIDIS and the Brazilian Association of Underground Waters – ABAS, assuming a regional leadership role in the training of technicians and researchers.

In this area, research is conducted on the behavior of pollutants in soil water, with an evaluation of causes and effects, aiming at proposing actions, methodologies and / or technologies for the monitoring and control of natural conditions. These studies cover changes in the natural characteristics of the environment, the quality of life conditions, and the degradation of materials and equipment. Such an approach presupposes the implementation and application of computational models related to studies of mechanisms of transport of substances and their behavior in ecosystems in time and space.

Another line of this research field is related to the applications of pollution control, through analysis of scenarios, the characterization of critical discharges of pollutants and the delimitation of areas affected by accidental discharges. Also involved are research related to the characterization of natural waters for water supply and wastewater, through physical-chemical and microbiological analyzes.


The most recently incorporated topics in this area may include the digestion of biosolids resulting from the treatment of domestic sewage, the evaluation of the characteristics of sludge produced in water treatment plants, the reactors operated in anaerobic process for the treatment of domestic sewage and Landfill leachate, advanced oxidative processes applied to landfill leachate pretreatment by anaerobic process, environmental risk assessment in landfills, and molecular biology techniques to improve the efficiency of anaerobic reactors.

Universidade Federal do Paraná
Postgraduate Program in Water Resources and Environmental Engineering
Caixa Postal 19011 - Jardim das Américas - 81531-990
Curitiba (PR), Brasil

Universidade Federal do Paraná
Postgraduate Program in Water Resources and Environmental Engineering
Caixa Postal 19011 - Jardim das Américas - 81531-990
Curitiba (PR), Brasil

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