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IGS TC-H Activities Report

The year 2017 has been very busy for TC-H, the Technical Committee on “Hydraulic Applications: Drainage, Erosion Control, Coastal Protection”.

During 2017 TC-H has organized 3 main technical events: the Special Session on “The choice of Geosynthetics for hydraulic applications” at GeoAfrica 2017 in Marrakech in October; the Workshop “Applications of geosynthetics to irrigation, drainage and agriculture” during the 23rd International Congress on Irrigation and Drainage in Mexico City in October; the GeoHydraulic Week in New Orleans, Louisiana, in November.

Moreover, the TC-H Chair, Pietro Rimoldi, has delivered a Keynote Lecture on “Geosynthetics for erosion control and coastal protection” during the 7th Turkish Geosynthetics Conference at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul in May.

Two open meetings have been held, one during GeoAfrica 2017 and one during the GeoHydraulic Week in New Orleans, where many potential activities have been discussed.

Soon a survey will be launched to all TC-H Members for prioritizing such activities and get volunteers to carry on the various tasks.

The three main events in 2017 are now summarized.

Special Session at GeoAfrica 2017

The Special Session “The choice of Geosynthetics for hydraulic applications” at GeoAfrica 2017 in Marrakech, Morocco, was held on Tuesday 12th October; it was chaired by TC-H Secretary Ian Fraser (UK), and it lasted 2 hours; 4 invited papers have been presented.

The first presentation was by TC-H Chair, Pietro Rimoldi (Italy) on “The choice of geosynthetics for applications in dam engineering”.

The second paper was “The choice of geosynthetics for hydraulic applications in roadway systems” by Prof. Jorge Zornberg, University of Texas at Austin (USA).

The third presentation was by Edoardo Zannoni (Maccaferri South Africa), on “The choice of geosynthetics for appli-cations in coastal engineering”.

The fourth presentation was by Sam Allen, Vice President of TRI Environmental, Austin, Texas (USA), on “The choice of geosynthetics for horizontal and vertical drainage”.

The Special Session was attended by 50 people. Questions and discussions followed each presentation, resulting in a kind of very interesting workshops among international experts. Hence the TC-H session was rated as one of the most interesting of all the conference.

All papers are included in the Proceedings of GeoAfrica 2017.

Workshop at the 23rd International Congress on Irrigation and Drainage

IGS, the International Geosynthetics Society, and ICID, the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the aim of developing activities of mutual interest between the two societies.

Under the umbrella of this MoU, IGS TC-H has organized the Workshop “Applications of Geosynthetics to Irrigation, Drainage and Agriculture”, which was held the first day of the 23rd International Congress on Irrigation and Drainage, organized by ICID, on October 8, 2017, at the World Trade Center in Mexico City, Mexico.

The Workshop was addressed to all people interested in irrigation and drainage, with particular focus on the applica-tions in agriculture, including State Officials, Agencies, Consulting Companies, Professionals, Contractors, Owners.

The Workshop allowed Attendees to learn the principles of Geosynthetics applications for irrigation canals, reservoirs, and flood management, covering the functions of water containment and barrier, water conveyance, reinforcement / stabilization, erosion control, and testing of Geosynthetics.

Geosythetics have been quoted to represent the most important innovation in Civil and Environmental Engineering in the last 50 years, and are getting wider and wider use even in the field of irrigation, drainage and agriculture. It is therefore important to get knowledge of the functions and applications of Geosynthetics in this field, in order to con-sider these products versus the traditional materials and techniques, affording all the technological and economical benefits that Geosynthetics can offer. Particularly in developing Countries, where there are often objective difficulties associated with sourcing natural material and with the costs of traditional materials, like concrete and bitumen, Geo-synthetics can represent a real boost to many projects.

Therefore IGS TC-H organized the Workshop in Mexico City with the following program:

   Welcome by Course Chairman  Timothy D. Stark Chair of the Fabricated Geomembrane Institute, Professor and IGS North America BoD Member
  Applications of Geomembranes for irrigation canals, reservoirs, and flood management Timothy D. Stark Chair of the Fabricated Geomembrane Institute, Professor and IGS North America BoD Member
  Water containment and barrier functions: Geomembrane requirements and Selection Matrix for irrigation canals and reservoirs  Bruno Herlin IGS North America BoD Member
  Reinforcement / stabilization functions in irrigation canals (reinforced dikes, stabilized foundations, etc.)  Stan Boyle IGS North America BoD Member
  Erosion control for irrigation canals, flood management, and agricultural slopes Marianna Ferrara IGS Mexico BoD Member
  Testing of Geosynthetics used in irrigation, drainage and agricultural applications  Eric Blond Former IGS Council Member, IGS North America Member, Former IGS Council Liaison to ICID

The Workshop has been attended by more than 100 people from many Countries, who have appreciated the quality of the presentations by IGS Members.

Moreover, during the opening Plenary Session of the Conference, Mr Herve Plusquellec delivered a keynote speech on “Application of geosynthetics to irrigation, drainage and agriculture”.

This event, organized by IGS with another society, provided also experience for continuing the cooperation with sister societies.

GeoHydraulic Week in New Orleans

IGS TC-H organized the GeoHydraulic Week at Pere Marchette hotel in New Orleans on 7 – 9 November 2017.

On 7th November the first event consisted of the Open Meeting of TC-H, followed by the Think Tank to discuss three emerging technical topics.

The Open Meeting addressed many topics and an action list has been prepared for next TC-H activities, adding to the discussion held at GeoAfrica 2017.

The Think Tank brought together some of the top contributors in the geohydraulics community to strategize about the path forward on each subject, including considerations of technical consensus vs continuing technical needs, educational efforts, and potential publications. Selected experts were requested to serve as facilitators to foster dis-cussion and interaction about the three topics:

  • Filtration: terminology and application (Coordinator: Preston Kendall)
  • Filtration: Using Air as Permeant in Hydraulic Testing (Coordinator: Rich Lacey)
  • Drainage: Estimates of long term hydraulic flow (Coordinator: Sam Allen)

On 8th and 9th November the second event consisted in the Technical Workshop on state-of-practice in design & construction for coastal and river protection. Attendees at this course were exposed to the range of technologies available to address hydraulic management, and received 16 PDH or 2 CEUs.

The Workshop program was the following

  • The 21st Century: a new world of engineering challenges (John Lopez, Director, Coastal Sustainability Program, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation)
  • Protection Design for Coastal and River Protection: Overview (Tom Stevens)
  • Geosynthetics for Erosion and Scour Control: Products & Applications (Pietro Rimoldi)
  • Design Methods/Codes for Erosion Control (Chad Lipscomb)
  • Design Methods/Codes for Drainage and Filtration (Aigen Zhao)
  • Measuring Geosynthetic Performance: Erosion Control (Joel Sprague)
  • Measuring Geosynthetic Performance: Drainage (Eric Blond)
  • Measuring Geosynthetic Performance: Filtration (Sam Allen)
  • Design Examples (Ranjiv Gupta)
  • Case Histories (4 cases)
Group photo at the welcome reception Opening lecturer John Lopez, TC-H Chair Pietro Rimoldi, TC-H Vice Chair Sam Allen


Finally the Panel Discussion allowed to add more topics to the list of potential activities of TC-H.

The GeoHydraulic Week has been the largest event organized by TC-H so far, and at the end it was quoted as one of the most positive and fruitful events in the recent IGS history.

Reported by:
Pietro Rimoldi, Chair, IGS TC-H – Technical Committee on Hydraulic Applications