Ecohydraulic Characteristics of a Differential Weir-Orifice Structure and Its Application to the Transition Reach of a Fishway

Mingxiao Liu, Mengxin Xu, Zhen Liu, Dongpo Sun, Michele Guala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A transition reach is usually necessary to connect two channels with different cross-sections to facilitate a gradual variation of the water depth and a mean flow velocity profile. A modified weir– orifice structure named differential weir-orifice (abbreviated DWO) is proposed here and applied to the transition reach of a fishway. Considering the preferred flow velocity and body shape of specific migrating fish, the design guidelines of a DWO plate are firstly discussed in terms of basic hydraulics. Then, by means of hydrodynamic numerical simulation and scale model tests, the design of a non-prismatic transition reach in a proposed large fishway is studied and optimized with a DWO. The simulation results indicate that the velocity profile in conventional weirs varies in the range of 2.5 to 3.2 m/s, and the head drop of each stage is up to 0.4 m, which is not suitable for fish migration. However, the flow could be improved by adopting the DWO: the split ratio of each weir gradually increases from 13% to 40%, with weir height decreasing along the reach, which allows the water drop of each stage to decrease by 35% to 50%. This causes the velocity over the weir to reduce in the range of 1.2 to 2.1 m/s, while the velocity in the orifice flow remains limited to 0.8 to 1.3 m/s. The flow velocity profile in the DWO also presents a bimodal distribution, with different flow layers increasing the suitability for fish migration. Moreover, the DWO also performs well in decreasing the vertical turbulent intensity together with the turbulent kinetic energy, reduced by about 33% at the weir crest. The energy at the bottom orifice is only about 28% of that at the weir crest. This indicates that the turbulent kinetic energy profile could be adjusted by the DWO, part of which is transferred from the weir crest to the bottom orifice. The model test results also show that the water surface experienced only gradual variation along the DWO. The adjusting functionality of the DWO can enable the fishway to be more effective, promoting an ecohydraulic design solution for fishway structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1711
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was funded by [National Natural Science Foundation of China] grant number [51909093; 52079032; 41930643] and [Key Scientific Research Projects in Colleges and Universities of Henan Province] grant number [21A570002].

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments: The financial supports of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51909093; No. 52079032; No. 41930643), and Key Scientific Research Projects in Colleges and Universities of Henan Province (Grant No. 21A570002) are gratefully acknowledged.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • differential weir–orifice
  • fish migration
  • hydraulic modeling
  • transition reach
  • turbulent kinetic energy


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