STEEP STREAMS - Solid Transport Evaluation and Efficiency in Prevention: Sustainable Techniques of Rational Engineering and Advanced Methods

Project presentation

Aronne Armanini 

Prof. Aronne Armanini

Projects  Partner and Institution:

University of Trent, Italy
Uppsala University, Sweden
Department of Earth Sciences  Associação do Instituto Superior Técnico para a Investigação e Desenvolvimento (IST-ID), Portugal

Key words: climate change; mountain basins; debris flows; driftwood; torrent protection works; experimental basins

The recent increase in intensity and frequency of meteorological and hydrological events in mountainous areas is recognized as one of the effects of climate change. Extreme meteorological events endorse hydrological extreme events in steep channels, like flash floods, intense bed load transport, debris flows, and driftwood. Conventional defence works and their design criteria currently in use are erratic to ensure sufficient protection to human life and urban settlements. For this reason, new approaches need to be studied. The STEEPS STREAMS project aims at researching structural innovative solutions and design criteria reliable to mitigate the impacts of flash floods and debris flows especially in presence of intense woody material
transport, typical of mountain catchments. Given the growing increase of the risk conditions and the increase in urbanization of these areas in the European context, a rigorous study approach is needed.

Project structure

WP1 Project Coordination & Management and hydrology 
WP2 Climate change 
WP3 Mathematical models
WP4 Defence structure against sediments
WP5 Defence structure against driftwood
WP6 Design of the works in experimental basin
WP7 Dissemination


The study approach envisaged by this project is the following:
1) Analysis of the correlation between climate change and the increasing in intensity and frequency of extreme events on the small catchment in mountain areas, by highlighting the consequences for the environment, such as changing soil conditions, vegetation, the effects of frost and thawing, in order to define more certain design conditions as regards the liquid and solid flow and the driftwood.
2) Development of a mathematical model capable of simulating the transport of liquids and intense solids flows, even in the presence of plant material. 3) Development of rational criteria of the mitigation remedial and defence techniques for the prevention and risk management related to extreme events in mountains area, like debris flow and intense bed load transport, associated with the driftwood. In particular, the development of innovative rational approaches to the design of the defence structures, but with innovative solutions in order to operate a lamination of the solid material and of the wood material separately.
4) Assessment of the tools developed with physical model, mathematical model and at real scale.


The outcome of the project is the application of innovative rational criteria for the mitigation, prevention and risk reduction against extreme events. Criteria are adapted to the particular conditions of mountain areas and account for the effects of climate change.  The output of STEEP STRREAMS will consist in scientific publications and in a guideline for the prevention, risk management and risk mapping against extreme events of solid transport in steep stream of mountain areas in Europe, developed accounting for the effect of climate change. The project also aims at starting a collaboration between researchers and practitioners also belonging to different disciplines, like meteorology, climatology hydrology, hydraulic engineering forestry engineering, including the research fields of sediment transport and of wooden transport in steep streams.

D1.1 First Annual Progress Report of the activity (by each WP).
D2.1 Final report on the hydrological modelling and meteorology in the context of climate change.
D3.1 Final report on the hydrodynamic 2DH two-phase models for debris flow.
D4.1 Final report on the design criteria of structures for the sediment discharge lamination.
D5.1 Final report on the design criteria of structure against driftwood
D6.1 Report on hydrological and morphological analysis
D7.1 Kick-off meeting, mid-term meetings and final conference
D7.2 Papers published in scientific journals; technical reports.
D7.3 Website
D7.4 Courses for engineers and other professionals

References coordinator and  leaders of  each WP:

Coordinator: Prof. A. Armanini

Leader of WP1: A. Armanini (Italy)
Leader of WP2: G. Di Baldassarre (Sweden)
Leader of WP3: G. Rosatti (Itay)
Leader of WP4: M. Larcher (Itay)
Leader of WP5: A. H. Cardoso (Portugal)
Leaders of WP6: R. Rigon and B. Majone (Italy)
Leaders of WP7: E. Nucci and D. Zardi (Italy)
Contact Point for  Communication/Dissemination activities:

E. Nucci

Contact Point for Open Data/Open Access activities:

E. Nucci

Picture of the research team:

 steep team

Water JPI key achievements 2011-2016

This publication presents the ten main goals achieved by the initiative till now.

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Open Data & Open Access
Water JPI Interface

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The WATER JPI is a relevant structure for Horizon 2020

Both the Water JPI and Horizon 2020 use public funds to achieve their goals, and enjoy a significant area of synergy in their respective research priorities. The JPI provides a channel for dialogue with the EC on future Horizon 2020 calls. Since its launch, the EC has been very supportive of the Water JPI and a non-voting member of its Governing Board.
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