History of hydrotech research institutes in Taiwan
In 1949, when the Government began to rule Taiwan, the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Central hydraulic research department
was active in promoting collaboration with the academics, given that there were no hydrotech research institutes in Taiwan.
First it joined forces with National Taiwan University to set up the Taipei Hydraulics Laboratory, followed by the setup
of Tainan Hydraulics Laboratory together with Tainan College of Engineering (now Cheng Kung University); subsequently different
universities and colleges began to set up their hydrotech research institutes to meet the need of teaching. In response
to domestic needs of constructions and research, government agencies also set up the Hydraulics Laboratory under the Committee
of unified water resources planning, MOEA in 1960 (in 1996 MOEA’s Water Resources Department and MOEA’s Committee of unified
water resources planning merged and reinstituted as Water Resources Office, MOEA), Hydraulics Laboratory under the Water
resources planning corps (today Water Resources Planning Institute) in 1973 and Institute of Harbor and Marine Technology,
Transportation Department of Taiwan Provincial Government (now Harbor and Marine Technology Center, Institute of Transportation,
MOTC) in 1981. Currently in Taiwan, the Hydrotech Research Institute of NTU, the Tainan Hydraulics Laboratory of NCKU and
the Hydraulics Laboratory of Water Resources Planning Institute, Water Resources Agency, among others, are the organzations
that conduct hydrotech research consistently.
Hydrotech Research Institute, National Taiwan University
The Hydrotech Research Institute, NTU, located on campus National Taiwan University (Fig. 1), was previously the “Taipei
Hydraulics Laboratory”, a collaboration between NTU and the Central hydraulic research department, MOEA starting in 1950
July, and then was expanded with approval from the Ministry of Education in 1961 to meet the need of nurturing Taiwan’s
talents in hydraulics and engineering practices, and renamed as “Hydrotech Research Institute under Agriculture and Engineering
colleges of National Taiwan University”. The new building was inaugurated in 1989, with a hydraulic engineering teaching
laboratory built at a later time, which laid the foundation for the Institute’s development.
Fig. 1 New Buidling of Hydrotech Research Institute, NTU
The hydraulic model tests completed by Hydrotech Research Institute, NTU are predominantly models for hydraulic structures,
dam works, reservoirs and rivers. A first series of model tests completed included the surge tank at Tianlun Dam, sand escape
at Jianshanpi Dam, colmation in Dahukou River, spillway in Baihe Dam, spillway in Shihmen Dam, Bitan river dam, Xinshan
Dam, Feitsui Reservoir and flood control in the Great Taipei.
Apart from supporting teaching, academic research and service of promotion, to respond to global climate change and be in
the trend of natural eco-conservation, the Hydrotech Research Institute, NTU has been active in recent years in promoting
research and development such as integrated development of early warning system for floods, analysis of eco-hydraulics and
environmental system, adaptive applications of hydrotech testing and value models, development and inspection of hydrologic
instruments, and integration & display of hydrotech informaion.
Tainan Hydraulics Laboratory, National Cheng Kung University
The Tainan Hydraulics Laboratory, National Cheng Kung University is situated in An-nan Campus of NCKU by Route T17 (Fig.
2). It was founded at year end 1950 by the Central hydraulic research department of Ministry of Economic Affairs and Tainan
College of Engineering (now CKU) jointly. In 1959 the Central hydraulic research department was removed, with its affairs
taken over by the Committee of unified water resources planning, MOEA, and the Laboratory was officially renamed as “Tainan
Hydraulics Laboratory, Committee of unified water resources planning, MOEA/College of Engineering, Cheng Kung University”.
In 1972, being escalated in scale, the Laboratory was reinstituted as “Tainan Hydraulics Laboratory Institute, Committee
of unified water resources planning, MOEA/College of Engineering, Cheng Kung University”. Again in 1996, at the merger of
the Committee of unified water resources planning and the Water Resources Department into Water Resources Office, MOEA,
it was renamed as “Tainan Hydraulics Laboratory Institute, Water Resources Office, MOEA/National Cheng Kung University”.
In 2002, as MOEA’s Water Resources Office, Water Resources Department and the Committee of Taipei speical water source area
management merged into the Water Resources Agency, MOEA, the Laboratory was renamed as “Tainan Hydraulics Laboratory Institute,
MOEA’s Water Resources Office/NCKU”, which has been used till date.
Fig. 2 Hydraulics Laboratory of Tainan Hydraulics Laboratory Institute
The hydraulic model tests conducted by Tainan Hydraulics Laboratory are mostly harbors, breakwater and sand drift on shores.
Model tests that were completed at the beginning included the model test of tidal embankment in Hsinchu tidal land, that
of Anping harbor, that of Beigang River, and that of Taichung Port.
The tasks of Tainan Hydraulics Laboratory are analysis and research in survey and testing related to hydraulic and marine
engineering, involvement in the hydraulic and marine research related to national economic construction projects, and assistance
in Water Resources Agency, MOEA’s summarized review & integration of technology and projects. It also assists at certain
stages in establishing Taiwan’s hydraulic and marine database and geoinfo system. In recent years, it has been devoted in
different fields like prevention of land subsidence, incubation of hydraulic industries, renewable energy development like
offshore wind turbines and ocean current power generation.
Hydraulics Laboratory, Water Resources Planning Institute, Water Resources Agency
Hydraulics Laboratory, Water Resources Planning Institute, Water Resources Agency (referred to as the “Laboratory”, Fig.
3) is situated by Wu River in Wufong District of Taichung City. The Laboratory was first instituted at the end of year 1973
by the Water Resources Bureau of Taiwan (today’s WRA) as an unstaffed taskforce under the Water resources planning corps,
with workers seconded by relevant units. As its affairs extended and its importance increased, in June 1977, it became officially
a staffed laboratory. To cater to the needs of affairs, in 1991, the Laboratory was expanded as Hydraulics Laboratory and
Geomatics Laboratory, with more tasks including supporting research to the stages of planning, design and construction of
Also, in 1976 in view of updating Taiwan’s river hydraulic observation techniques, the Laboratory set up a lab for currentmeter
calibration with an electric speed test cart it built, offering service of cup-type currentmeter calibration, which was
upgraded in 2001 to an automatic wireless-controlled system (Fig. 4). In order that river hydraulic measurement in Taiwan
meets modernized basis for measurement, in 2007 the Laboratory was awarded by Taiwan Accreditation Foundation (TAF) a certification
(Certification No.: 1707), whereby to increase amply the completeness and accuracy of calibration.
Fig. 3 Hydraulics Laboratory, Water Resources Planning Institute
Fig. 4 Currentmeter calibration room (on the left); TAF certification (on the right)
The Laboratory had begun primarily with models tests on flood prevention engineering and dam works. Since the very first
hydraulic model test for Shihgang Dam in 1973, the Laboratory has completed the model tests and research on many projects
including the Project of expansion of Wujie tidal gate, Jhuoshuei River spur dike, river dam of Beinan upper dicth, Da-an
River spur dike, Erchong floodway, Baoshan Dam spillway, Donggang River watersupply station and the sandy section of Jhuoshuei
Further to respond to various needs for hydraulic construction, model tests were conducted, from Nanhua Dam spillway, Liyutan
Dam spillway, Xishih Dam spillway, Hushan Dam spillway, to watersupply work and silting basin in Jiji riverdam, Tongtou
riverdam in Hushan Dam, Yuanshantsu Flood diversion tunnel in Keelung River, to the hydrology of Jiji riverdam and its downstream,
stabilization of Dajia River downstream of Shihgang Dam, sand escape in empty Nanhua Dam, silt control & sand escape in
Agongdian Dam, to flood prevention & silt control in Shihmen Dam and flood prevention & silt control tunnel in Zenwen Reservoir
and silt control tunnel in Baihe Dam. In addition to the above mentioned tests in relation to works, also conducted are
fishway model test ecology-wise, and basic tests on erosion and protection of river embankment footing method-wise, where
the type of test has always been changing with the upcoming constructions in the country (major hydraulic test models over
the years shown in Fig. 5).
Unlike the on-campus academic research, the tests and research performed by the Laboratory are mostly in line with major
national hydraulic constructions, where a majority was implemented after testing, which is characterised by challenging
The Laboratory’s first model test--model of Shihgang Dam
Model test on Liyutan Dam spillway
Model test on Jhuoshuei River remediation
Model test on Yuanshantsu Flood diversion
Fishway model test
Model test on downstream river in Jiji riverdam
Entire model test on Shihmen Dam silt control engineering
Entire model test on silt control engineering in Zenwen Reservoir
Fig. 5 Major hydraulic model tests by the Laboratory over years