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The scope of this section is to describe the most widely adopted technical solutions concerning equipment and support systems used in Mediterranean hatcheries, with emphasis on hydraulic aspects. Design parameters, size calculation and installation criteria are dealt with in this section.

Each subsection is divided in two parts, both treated in detail:

1. the main support systems and,
2. their technical components.

Civil works related to buildings or roads, including concrete calculations, electrical and thermomechanical systems, are not dealt with because:


The seawater supply system is a crucial element of any hatchery project as the entire production depends on a reliable supply. It includes the following components:

Fig. 28 - Seawater supply system diagram


In Mediterranean hatcheries, seawater can be supplied from two sources:

1. by direct pumping from the sea;
2. marine/brackishwater wells.

In both cases a reliable water supply system is a key factor for the successful production of fry and for the whole economy of the farm as it accounts for a very important part of its energy cost. A well designed system, in terms of piping and proper choice of adequate pumps and ancillary technical equipment, assures the efficient functioning of the breeding centre. This system is crucial in large commercial hatcheries, in which the requirements for treated marine water can easily exceed 150l/s.

The direct pumping of seawater is the most widespread system to supply Mediterranean seabass and gilthead seabream farms and hatcheries. It is described in detail below.

There are different types of water intakes according to the type of coastline, distance from the hatchery to the sea and type of beach and sea bottom sediment. The three most common situations encountered are described in the following sections:

The peak water flow requirements of the hatchery must be carefully calculated to design properly the entire system. Future developments and system maintenance, which is an important aspect, should also be taken into consideration. If not properly kept in mind in the design phase, these two aspects may generate potential dangers such as abundance of fouling organisms in the pipelines or excessive silting in front of the water intake. These problems may easily become major drawbacks during the operation of the hatchery, requiring costly interventions to solve them.

Sandy coastline with a low gradient

Because of the risk of clogging by sediments, a water intake located on a sandy low coast would require the construction of civil works on the shore. Their design, related to their possible impact on littoral sediment transport, requires a detailed study of: wind regime, swell regime, sea level variations, tidal regime, bathymetry, and coastal currents.

Fig. 29 - Water is pumped to a higher level at the end of the canal

  • type 1a: protection of dyke B by dyke A when littoral drift is from (a) to (b);

  • type 1b: protection of dyke A by dyke B when littoral drift is from (b) to (a);

  • type 1c: converging straight dykes when littoral drift is negligible and/or equivalent in both directions.


MPS = main pumping station
SPS = secondary pumping station
H = hatchery
C = canal

St = strainer
PD = principal device
FPP = floating pressurized pipeline
DP = dry pump
SP = submersible pump

For this typology, the two main technical solutions usually adopted are: (i) a canal protected at sea by two breakwaters and, (ii) a submersed pipeline.

Water intake through a canal protected at sea by two breakwaters

The design of these dykes depends on the direction of the littoral currents and on the transport of littoral sediment. The water intake protection at sea has to be adapted to different situations as described in Figures 29 and 30.

Both solutions are not cheap because of the construction cost of the channel. However, they assure an abundant supply of water of very good quality, also protecting the pumping station, and are easy to maintain and to build. This type of water intake is seldom used because of its cost but it is suitable when large amounts of water are needed (the case of the nursery unit). Fig. 29 differs from Fig. 30 only in the presence of a boosting pumping station.

Water intake through a protected pipeline

This is one of the most commonly adopted solutions, even if it has to be carefully evaluated because of the risk of clogging, positioning and its difficult maintenance if the pipeline has a diameter smaller than of 1 000mm. The following figures describe the possible solutions depending on material adopted, skill of the contractor and the preference of the company. If and when possible, always seek a gravity-fed water supply to bring water close to the hatchery (Fig. 31 to 34).

Fig. 30 - Water is not pumped at a higher level

  • types 1bis a, b, c are identical to types 1 a, b, c, but without the main pumping station

Seawater intake on a rocky coast

This type of seawater intake generally provides a good water quality due to the lower levels of sediments and suspended solids. These are intake systems generally with a marked gradient and the three types, described in the figures below, are installed depending on the type of pumping station adopted (Fig. 35 and 36).

In this typology the pipeline is fixed directly to the rocks, without protection, or to concrete blocks or is embedded in the rocks. The design of this water intake type requires the same data as indicated for the cases above to estimate the stress or damage which could be caused by storms to the pipeline and suction protection grating.

Fig. 31 - Water is pumped to a higher level at the end of the pipeline

  • type 2a: intake pipeline buried in the beach and ending at a grating protected by a heavy concrete structure partially buried and "feeding" a pumping station equipped with a dry centrifugal pump;

  • type 2b: intake pipeline similar to type 2a except that the pumping station is fed by gravity and is equipped with a submersible pump.

Fig. 32 - Water is pumped to a higher level at the end of the pipeline

  • type 2c: intake pipeline buried in the beach with the suction end protected with a grate and heavy rocks;

  • type 2d: intake pipeline laid down on the beach and protected by a dyke made with rocks.

Fig. 33 - Water is pumped to a higher level at the end of the pipeline

  • types 2e, 2f, 2g: the intake pipeline is buried in the beach and converging dykes made with rocks and whose geometry varies according to littoral drift, protect it from solids, as in the case of inlet types 1a, 1b, 1c, At sea there is a heavy concrete structure, partially buried. This solution is used when the pumping station has to be sited far from the sea and the water has to be pumped twice, either because the hatchery is higher than 2-3 meters above sea level, or because the water intake is too far for a single pumping station.

Fig. 34 - Water is not pumped at a higher level

  • type 2bis b is identical to type 2b but with a single pumping station (direct hatchery supply);

  • types 2bis e, f, g are identical to types 2e, f and g, but with a single pumping station.

Fig. 35 - types 3a and 3b: the pumping station is equipped with a classical centrifugal pump, with or without priming cap, according to the water level. These water intakes could be:

- either a pipeline embedded into the rocks or fixed first to concrete blocks and then covered by the rocks. These two solutions are valid when the rocks are strong;

- or, a pipeline laid into a trench first dug into the rock sea bed and then filled with concrete after laying down the pipeline. This solution is chosen when the rocks are of bad quality and fragile.

Fig. 36 - type 3c: the pumping station is said to be "wet" and is equipped with a submersible pump. This water intake is a pipeline placed in the sea bed rocks below lowest sea level (lowest point of storm swell or lowest tidal level). This avoids problems during pumping due to a shortage of water at the grating. It also allows a sufficient load to obtain the flow required.

Seawater intake placed inside a natural or artificial enclosure

A third type of water intake is the one placed inside coastal lagoons or man-made ponds connected to the sea through one or more openings in the sand bar (lagoon mouths) or which fill by seeping (percolation) through the sand. In the first case the pumping station has to be placed close to the mouth in order to pump seawater of the best quality. In the second case, the design of the water intake requires a good knowledge of the soil permeability to estimate the maximum amount of water that can be pumped (Fig. 37).

Fig. 37

  • type 4a: an intake pipeline brings the water to the pump by gravity;

  • type 4b: a floating pumping station and a delivery pipeline partially floating;

  • type 4c: an intake pipeline supported above water level.


MPS = main pumping station
SPS = secondary pumping station
H = hatchery
C = canal
St = strainer
PD = principal device
FPP = floating pressurized pipeline
DP = dry pump
SP = submersible pump


Geometry and structure of seawater intakes on a sandy coast

The design and construction of water intakes in this type of coastline are closely related to the study of existing littoral transport, which in turn depends on the nature and size of local sediments. This study, together with the structural study, has to be carefully analysed in order to prevent disastrous effects such as the complete and rapid silting of the water intake facilities.

Any study of the local littoral transport is based on the wave/swell spectrum, which gives for each direction the amplitude (range) frequency of the different swells. From this spectrum it is possible to draw the diffraction curves (or swell forecast) of the swells from different directions on the nautical map.

These curves provide estimates of the decrease/increase coefficients (c) of the swells with a significant amplitude as these swells progress toward the shore, and particularly when they reach the shallower water area and break over (the breaking area), at the edge of the shore area. This is where the works have to be built and where almost all the littoral drift takes place.

These curves in (Fig. 38 to 40) also allow estimate of the obliquity angle (a) of the swell in relation to the shore line. The solid flow (see below) along the shore is closely correlated to this angle. Figure 40 shows the variation of (a), the wave efficiency coefficient.

Fig. 38 - Sediment littoral transport by currents and waves. Effects of breakwaters on sediment transport

Fig. 39 - Wave spectrum and diffraction plans

Fig. 40 - Curve of sediment transport in relation to wave obliquity angle (a)

The solid flow is defined as the quantity of solid material maintained in suspension in the water (by wave energy) and passing through the beach per unit of time. It is a flow of material going in and out the beach. To help define the water intake design, the formula of the solid flow produced in the wave breaking area along the shore, is as follows:



is the quantity of material transported


is a coefficient function of the size of sand particles (d)


is equal to 1.56 T2


is the swell amplitude in the open sea


is the period of the studied swell or wave period


is the gravity force acceleration, 9.81 m/s


is the amplitude at the first breaking swell or (ho x c), with c being a coefficient taken from the "diffraction curves" of the swells when entering the breaking area


is the angle between the general direction of the waves and the the shore line at the entrance of the breaking area.

If Q1 is the quantity of sand moved into one direction by all the oblique swells of quadrant (1) and Q2 the sand quantity moved into the other direction by all the oblique swells of quadrant (2), then, the ratio Q1/Q2 (either greater or smaller than 1) will give the direction of the resultant littoral drift as follows:

This is, of course, an estimate of the predominant sediment circulation.

Calculation and design of structures against sea storms

The calculation is based on the Hudson formula generally used to design the elements of the rock cover that should protect the structures from strong wave action. The formula is as follows:



is the weight of the rocks in tonnes


is a coefficient (equal to 3.2 for rocks)


is the specific density of the rocks, in t/m3


is the water specific density or about 1 t/m3


is the angle with the horizontal of the external wall of the dyke


is the amplitude of the waves breaking on the structure

Fig. 41 - Cross-section of dyke built with rock in shallow water

Figure 41 shows the theoretical cross-section of a dyke made of rocks in shallow water. It is at a level higher than is usually considered for Mediterranean situation (3m). It is designed using the above formula.

Geometry and structure of seawater intakes on a rocky coast

In this case the intake structures, which when well-positioned do not interfere with the littoral transport, are designed taking into account only their resistance to the sea storms, and wave energy.

Hydraulic section of seawater intakes

(a) Open canal

It is a structure with a trapezoidal section (see Fig. 42).

However, it can also be built as a structure in reinforced concrete with a rectangular section (as indicated in Fig. 43).

Fig. 42 - Open canal cross-section

The area of the cross-section to be used depends on the maximum water flow required, which is calculated by applying the Bazin formula:

Fig. 43 - Square canal cross-section



is the water flow in m3/s


is the water velocity in m/s


is the wet area of the canal cross-section, in m2


is the hydraulic radius = S ÷ P, in m


is the wet perimeter, in m


is the roughness coefficient of the internal dyke walls


is the hydraulic slope of the canal in m/m

Calculations are simplified by using the abacus that is usually found in the most important textbooks on hydraulics.

(b) Pipeline

In this case seawater is conveyed by pipeline to the pumping station either by gravity or by suction.

The size of the pipeline is calculated by applying the Manning-Strickler formula, as follows:

Q = US and U = (1 ÷ n) R2/3 i1/2



is the water flow, in m3/s


is the water velocity, in m/s


is the pipeline cross-section area, in m2


is the roughness coefficient of the pipe internal walls


is the hydraulic radius = S ÷ P, in m


is the wet perimeter, in m


is the hydraulic slope of the pipeline, in m/m

The abacus for easier calculations and the data on head losses for pipes, elbows, ball valves and grating valves can be found in the most important hydraulic textbooks or are given directly by the PVC pipe and fitting producers.


When deciding on the construction of the seawater intake of a hatchery, two main groups of factors should be taken into account:

The final choice may be guided by the following considerations on water intakes and pumping stations:

· Water intake through an open canal

An open canal supplying seawater by gravity directly to the main and secondary pumping stations and with water moving at low speed has the following advantages:

· Water intake protected by converging dykes

From a technical standpoint, this is obviously the best solution. The littoral sediment transport is moderate and as the water intake is situated in a protected area (quiet water and low sediment load), the water can be fed to the main or secondary pumping station either through an open canal or a pipeline. However, because of the high construction costs, this solution can be considered only for very large hatcheries or, for those associated with large pond-based commercial farms.

· Water intake in open sea with pipelines

From an economic point of view, this solution is certainly the most attractive. But, as it is built without any protection and within the wave breaking area, it may transport plenty of sand during swell periods, which means strong wear on the pumps. Moreover, before using water in the hatchery, coarse sediments and suspended solids should be removed through a set of filters.

· Water intake with a screened pipe protected by a pile of rocks

This solution supplies water with less sediment at the pumping station. However, a set of filters to screen suspended solids is required.

· Water intake working by suction or by gravity

It is always better, whenever possible, to have a water intake working by gravity. If properly designed and installed, a pipeline working by gravity does not affect the functioning of the pumps. On the contrary, a pipeline requiring suction is often a source of problems such as air intake, priming failure and mechanical wearing of the pumps.


The pumping station is the structure where pumps are installed. When the hatchery is close to the sea or the difference between the hatchery level and the sea level does not exceed 2 meters, a single pumping unit is enough. In all other cases, it is better to bring seawater first to a reservoir close to the hatchery, from which it is pumped to the different units.

Wells are also used to supply water to the hatchery, but rather as a secondary pumping station, regardless of their type, number and dimensions.

Fig. 44 - An aerial view of farm showing the main pumping station (TIMAR, Portugal)

To bring seawater from the water intake to the hatchery, two types of pumping station exist:

"Dry" pumping station

This type of pumping station is usually equipped with horizontal centrifugal pumps but sometimes vertical axial pumps are also employed. As these types of pumps work outside the water, the room where the pumps are to be installed should be located above the highest sea level. To eliminate the need for a priming cap on the pumps, which would be necessary when the suction pipeline is placed above water level, it would also be possible to install the pumps at a slightly lower level, close to sea level. This choice is, however, a risky solution and requires that the lower part of the premises of the pumping stations be watertight.

Fig. 45 - “Dry” pumping station. Top and lateral views

Seawater can be pumped in two ways:

Fig. 46 - “Dry” pumping station below sea level

"Wet" pumping station

This type of main pumping station can be equipped with either submersible pump sets or vertical axial pumps. It consists of a sump communicating directly with the sea through an open canal or a pipeline feeding the sump by gravity. It is important to place the pipeline or the canal below the lowest sea level so that grating and suction line would never be empty. Submersible pumps are installed directly into this sump, together with their lifting and back-flow systems. Vertical axial pumps are installed above water level on a metal frame.

Fig. 47 - “Wet” pumping station. Section and top view

In a separate building, close to the pumping station, the following equipment is usually installed:

Sometimes, the pumping station can be equipped with a water tower, which should allow water distribution by gravity. This choice is very interesting in order to avoid nitrogen supersaturation, but it is much more complex to run as it requires frequent cleaning to maintain a maximum control of hygienic conditions. In any case, one separate reservoir per circuit has to be contemplated in the hydraulic design.

Fig. 48 - Secondary pumping station. Top view and section showing also alternative with submersible pump


The design of a pumping station should take into account the following parameters:

On the basis of these data, it is then possible to proceed with the design of the pumping stations by:

Design of the main pumping station

Generally the number of pump sets to be installed varies from two to four as a compromise between security (minimum two pumps) and economy (maximum of four pumps to cut running costs by fractioning the use) as follows:

(In which Qu is the unitary flow of one pump. Qmax is the maximum flow needed by the hatchery operations. Qi is the maximum flow capacity when all the installed pumps are running).

Design of the secondary pumping station

For each unit in the hatchery, at least two pumps should be installed, one to be in operation while the other is kept on stand-by. This is, of course, the minimal configuration acceptable. If more pumps are desired the same consideration on the balance between investment and running costs discussed in the paragraph above should be taken into account. Spare parts should be readily available for each type of pump, and should be regularly replaced when used.


The final solution should be chosen taking into account factors like reliability of equipment and easy utilization, without neglecting the economic aspects related to investment and operational cost of the equipment. The following considerations can be of some assistance:

Type of pump set

Because of the type of liquid to be transported (seawater) and the salty environment in which the pumps operate, the pump type that gives best results are the submersible pumps treated against marine corrosion. The reliability of such pumps comes from the fact that they are built very carefully to work continuously underwater. Due to their easy installation and maintenance, submersible pumps offer real advantages due to the practical mechanisms used for their assembly and dismantling. The very reduced chance to produce nitrogen oversaturation in the water pumped is another positive characteristic of this type of pump. Vertical and horizontal pumps are also frequently used as they are cheaper and are also easy to maintain. These pumps are also suitable for work with seawater but some additional precautions have to be taken:


Well water of good quality, due to the stability of its physico-chemical characteristics, is an asset not to be missed by any hatchery. A well can be defined as a structure built in the ground, able to reach the water table and from where water can be pumped out. Its shape is usually cylindrical, developing along a vertical axis, and consists of two parts: an external wall, built from super-imposed cylindrical elements, in concrete, plastic or other materials forming the well-casing, and an internal filter.

The data required for a proper well design are divided in three main categories:

Topographic data are essential to have a correct idea of the land in terms of its elevation, and to evaluate the variations of the water table levels.

Geo-technical data are fundamental for the construction of the well and have an impact also on construction costs. In fact, as the well casing will penetrate up to the water table, it is necessary to know in advance the characteristics of the soil. In particular, it is necessary to know:

The soil texture is determined in the laboratory on the basis of samples taken by means of augers at various depths of the water table.

The permeability coefficient is determined by percolation tests carried out on the spot at different depths of the water bearing layers. This is the only way to provide a correct value for this coefficient, as laboratory tests on samples taken from the spot are usually unreliable. This is due to the difficulty encountered in bringing sand samples from water-bearing layers to the laboratory, without affecting their characteristics.

Hydraulic data essential to calculate wells are:

To evaluate whether a well is feasible or not, two different types of analysis are required:

Flow estimation

For this estimation the following formula is used:



flow in m3/sec


permeability coefficients in m/sec


height of the exploited water table


height of water in the well (stabilized level for a given Q)


external limit of the draw down curve


well radius


neperian logarithm = 2.3 decimal logarithm

From this formula it can be deducted that the well flow is:

1. directly proportional to:

- the coefficient K;
- to a greater degree, to the variation of the water level in the well (Ho2 - Hp2);
- to a lesser degree, to the radius of the well: rp (ln rp).

2. inversely proportional to:

- the radius of the area where the well activity is felt (Ra) in the water table, this radius of activity being in itself inversely proportional to K, which increases still the importance of K in the flow calculation.

Finally, and to be able to appreciate the importance of the various parameters intervening in the calculation of the flow capacity of a well, two examples are given below:


Example 1

Example 2

K (m/sec)

0.0001 or 10-4
(fine sand with limited permeability)

0.0001 or 10-3
(permeable sand)

Ho (m)

Hp (m)

Ra (m)



rp (m)



Q (m3/sec)

The analysis of these two examples highlights the importance of the coefficient K, depending on whether we are dealing with fine sand with limited permeability or with more permeable coarser sand. Even with a hydraulic load and a well diameter reduced to half, the flow is considerably increased.

Q2 19 l/sec with

K = 1 x 10-3

Dh2 = 4m

rp2 = 1m

Q1 7.8 l/sec with

K = 1 x 10-4

Dh1 = 8m

rp1 = 2m

It may be possible to use seawater wells when a hatchery is to be established on sandy or nonhomogeneous soils. They are easy to build and guarantee a constant water supply. Areas adequate for well construction are usually formed by sediments which go from fine sand to silt and for which the permeability coefficient K varies, in m/sec, from 1 x 10-3 for coarse sand to 1 x 10-9 for silt. In the case of rocky coastlines, apart from some very unusual locations, it is better to consider from the planning stages a standard pumping station, drawing water directly from the sea.

The strength of the littoral water tables is generally weak, usually only a few meters. This implies that the flow that could be obtained is modest, being in the order of a few litres per second rather than tens of litres per second.

As a final consideration, it is very important to bear in mind that in case of large wells we should avoid pumping more than 30 litres per second in order to reduce the movement of fine particles all around the well area and the resulting quick clogging. Moreover, it has to be borne in mind that wells are often temporary constructions with an expected life span of 5-10 years. Therefore locations for new wells should be found in due time.


Pipelines and canals (open canals, gutters) are used to carry seawater to and from the hatchery. Different materials are used for pipelines, depending on their use and on the hatchery sectors where they will be installed. Materials used for the piping outdoors could be protected steel, concrete and fibreglass, while polyethylene (PE) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) are used for piping inside the hatchery, where non-toxic materials are required. Canals and gutters are mostly made of reinforced concrete, prefabricated concrete, bricks, PVC and metal.

In general, for pipelines that have to work under pressure, PVC or PE are the materials used more frequently, while for hatchery systems in which liquids flow by gravity, open channels or PVC and PE pipes are common. Inside the hatchery all the water circuits are normally built using PVC piping, which is the more flexible and easy to use material in terms of installation and repairs, and also because of the variety of existing PVC fittings such as valves, elbows, fast joints, etc.

Feeding the main pumping station

Pipelines bringing water to the main pumping station, either using suction or gravity, are generally made of:

The working pressure limit of the pipeline should be at least 6 bars, but it is better to use piping that could work at 10 or 12 bars pressure, although it may be slightly more expensive. It is preferable to use oversize pipes so that they can stand severe working conditions in the sea. All the sections and fittings of the pipeline are gathered on site; then they are welded/assembled after having prepared the trenches in the sea bottom and on land. Immediately after, the pipeline is pushed into the sea on floats and is lowered into the trench. This work is often considered of secondary importance, but it is often a key element for the success of the hatchery and farm. Saving money on this installation, materials or studies could severely affect all farm sectors later.

Connecting the main and secondary pumping stations (when necessary)

This hydraulic connection is generally made using the following pipes:

Distributing water in the hatchery

Water is distributed inside the hatchery by pipeline systems that are either suspended under the roof or running on the floor. The first solution is preferable to limit the risk of possible damage to the pipes and to facilitate movements in all areas, whilst the second option is frequently an easier and cheaper solution.

Pipelines for internal distribution of water are made of PVC and are usually of small diameter (31 to 200mm), assembled by solvent welding or threaded sockets, or fast joints. In the case of long pipelines, fast joints are preferable since a piping system that can be easily dismantled can also be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Standard pipes usually available are 6 m long.

Draining water from the hatchery

Water is drained from the hatchery through a network of secondary channels/gutters that convey the effluents from the various tanks to the main drainage canal. The internal gutter network is usually made of concrete, or of light PVC, and it can be covered with:

In summary, each pipe should be chosen and used according to specific needs. Stainless steel or concrete pipes should be used when a strong mechanical resistance is needed. PE pipes should be preferred when mechanical resistance is not the sole factor to consider, and the pipe is going to be exposed to atmospheric conditions. Finally, PVC pipes are generally used for internal pipelines as this material is not toxic and has a very small roughness coefficient, which allows the use of smaller pipes for accurate calibration of the water flow to the various outlets.

The final choice for materials should be based on an accurate survey to identify local manufacturers, to evaluate the quality and cost of available materials and to locate potential contractors with the knowhow and equipment necessary to put together the hydraulic systems.


Four types of information are essential for the correct sizing and design of a pipeline network:

1. the roughness coefficient of the material chosen;
2. the water flow required;
3. the internal water velocity;
4. the pre-defined head loss produced by the line lenght/fittings and by the equipment interposed.

Design of a pipeline working under pressure

The design of a closed pipeline is made using the Manning-Strickler formula, (also applicable for water transfer by gravity), which is as follows:

Q = US = U (K R2/3 i1/2)


Q =

water flow in m3/s

U =

water speed in m/s

S =

wet section area in m2

K =

head loss coefficient = 1/n

n =

roughness coefficient

R =

average radius = S/P

P =

wet perimeter in m

i =

hydraulic slope in m per m

Using this formula it is easy to calculate any of its elements, for example:

Sometimes, to simplify calculations, an abacus or graphic methods can also be used.

The head loss coefficient generally considered for smooth pipes under pressure is K = 95 which corresponds to a roughness coefficient n = 0.0105. For PVC pipes, K is about 120 and n = 0.0083.

To calculate the total head charge H in m (the height necessary to transfer a given flow), we can use the formula: H = i L, where i is the hydraulic slope (in m/m) and L the length (in m) of the pipeline. To this the sum of head losses due to the pipeline fittings (grating, elbows, valves, etc.) should be added.

Pipe fittings are frequently expressed in equivalent length of pipe L1. L2, L3, etc. The length of the pipeline L is lengthened by the sum of these equivalent lengths, so that finally the formula would be:

H = i (L + L1 + L2 + L3 +....)


- flow required: 0.3 m3/s
- pipeline: diameter 400 mm; length 500 m (straight pipe without fittings)
- Hydraulic slope from the abacus as: i = 0.01175 m/m

Thus, the total head charge necessary: H = 0.012 x 500 = 6 m or 0.6 bar

In many cases, choosing the size of a small PVC/HDAD pipe is done by consulting a simple graphic abacus provided by the pipe manufacturer. This way it is easy to determine the pipe sections, and it also gives often the opportunity to choose the correct internal section and to evaluate head losses (in m/m).

It is very important to bear in mind that this way of calculating pipeline size is absolutely empirical and is easily applicable to pipes working under pressure. However, when the pressure applied consists of only gravity, a better evaluation is needed.

Overflow outlets

For overflow weirs with a free water fall, the flow calculations are based on the following formula:



is the water flow per meter of weir(in m3/s)


is a coefficient (close to 0.45)


is the water head above the crest of the weir (in m)


is the gravity (9.81 m/s)

For a weir that is L meters wide, total flow .

Knowing the weir width (L, in m) and the flow (Q, in m3/s), it is possible to calculate the difference in level (Hd) between the weir crest and the water level upstream as:

Canals and gutters

The hatchery gutter network consists of rectangular canals of small size made usually of reinforced concrete, and either built on the spot or assembled using prefabricated sections.

Generally, the main drainage canal is a ditch of trapezoidal section, not covered, with a gentle slope and over-sized for the flow expected.

The flow capacity of any type of canal is obviously related to its section and can be calculated with the Bazin formula:



is the water flow in m3/sec


is the water velocity in m/sec


is the Bazin coefficient =


is the hydraulic radius (in m) = S/P


is the wet section area in m2


is the wet perimeter in m


is the Bazin roughness coefficient


is the hydraulic slope in m/m


Bazin roughness coefficient varies as follows:

concrete smooth surface

= 0.06

surface in stones or bricks

= 0.16

surface in masonry

= 0.45


= 0.85

ordinary embankment

= 1.30

rock embankment

= 1.75

An abacus can be used to determine the hydraulic slope necessary for a given flow Q, with the crossection selected and the roughness coefficient known. It also allows to determine the difference in level between the channel upstream and downstream (Dh)


Referring to the above mentioned formulas and principles, this section gives some examples of practical calculations for pipe inlets and outlets in a marine finfish hatchery.

Example: Water inlet system


Let's assume that the internal network is made of three different circuits: A, B and C.

Fig. 49 - Hatchery circuits MF = mechanical filter EX = plate exchanger = pumping station

Circuit A

- Length: 210 m
- Equipped with a pump A: maximum flow QA = 10 l/s = 0.010 m3/s
- Water velocity: U = 1.20 m/s
- Pipeline: rigid PVC 10 bars

Thus the theoretical section is given as S = QA ÷ U = 0.010 ÷ 1.20 = 0.008m2

- Selected diameter: N.D. Æ 100 mm, which means 98.8/110 mm

With a real section of 0.00785 m2 [Calculated as (98.8/2*1/1000)2 p] and the real velocity as U = 0.010 ÷ 0.00785 = 1.275 m/s

- Interposed circuit equipment: considering Q = 10 l/s

- Length: 50 m
- Equivalent flow (considering homogeneous water distribution to the tanks):

- Water velocity: 1.0 m/s
- Pipe type: rigid PVC 10 bars
- Selected diameter: N.D. ø 80 mm which means 80.6/90 mm

With a real section: S = 0.0395 m2 and the real velocity: U = Qe ÷ S = 0.006 ÷ 0.0395 » 1.05 m/s

Circuit B

- Length: 210 m
- Circuit equipped with a pump B; maximum flow: QB = 50 l/s=0.050 m3/s
- Water velocity: U = 1.20 m/s
- Pipeline: rigid PVC 10 bars

Thus the theoretical section is given as S = QB ÷ U = 0.050 ÷ 1.20 » 0.04 m2

- Selected diameter: N.D. Æ 250 mm which means 224.2/250 mm
- Real section: S = 0.0395 m2
- Real velocity: U = QB ÷ S = 0.050 ÷ 0.0395 Æ 1.265 m/s
- Interposed circuit equipment: considering Q = 50 l/s

- Length: 50 m
- Equivalent flow (considering an homogeneous water distribution to the tanks):

- Theoretical velocity: 1.0 m/s
- Pipe type: rigid PVC 10 bars
- Selected diameter: N.D. ø 200mm, which means 179/200 mm

With a real section: S = 0.025 m2 and the real velocity: U = Qe S = 0.029 ÷ 0.025 » 1.16 m/s

Circuit C

Sea water reservoir feeding the tanks under the following conditions:

- Inlet flow coming from circuit B: 3 l/s = 0.003m3/s
- Maximum flow to the tanks through circuit C: QC= 3 l/s = 0.003 m3/s
- Capacity: half an hour of flow, which means: (3600 x 3)
- Length: 4 m
- Maximum flow: QC= 3 l/s
- Water velocity: U = 1.20 m/s
- Pipeline: rigid PVC 10 bars

Thus the theoretical section is given as S = QC ÷ U = 0.003 ÷ 1.20 » 0.04 m2

- Selected diameter: N.D. ø 75 mm which means 63.2/75 mm

With a real section: 0.0031 m2 and a real velocity: U = QC ÷ S = 0.003 ÷ 0.0031 » 1 m/s

- Water distribution: considering Q = 3 l/s
- Length considered: 50 m
- Max. flow (considering an homogeneous water distribution to the tanks):

- Theoretical velocity: 1.0 m/s
- Pipe type: rigid PVC 10 bars
- Selected diameter: N.D. ø 75 mm which means 63.2/75 mm

With a real section: S = 0.0031 m2 and the real velocity: U = Qe ÷ S = 0.00175 ÷ 0.0031 » 0.565 m/s


To finalize the design of the water inlet system, it is necessary to determine the sum of the head losses due to the equipment installed on the circuit, the friction of the water in the pipelines and the energy lost to move the water to obtain the flow required.

The head losses i are calculated using the Manning-Strickler formula:

Q = U S where
U = K R2/3 i1/2 and therefore
i = U2 ÷ K2 R4/3

Adding this hydraulic load of the pipeline system to the final load to deliver at the end of the circuit, allows the calculation of the necessary total head of the pump.

Use an abacus to determine easily “i” knowing U, K and R (or diam. Æ).

Circuit A

(a) Residual load necessary at the end of the distribution lines in the secondary circuits: 5 m, which means a line of load = (+4.00) + 5.00 = (+9.00) m

(b) Head losses into secondary distribution circuit with (see (a) above) where:

L = 50 m
Qe = 6 l/s
U = 1.05 m/s
K = 100 (n = 0.01)
Æ internal ~ 80 mm or 0.08 m
R = Æ ÷ 4 = 0.02 m

and Dh = 0.02 x 50 = 1 m
which means a load line in A3 = (+9.00) + 1.00 = (+10.00) m

(c) Head losses for primary internal circuit (see (a) above), where:

L = 60 m
Q = 10 l/s
U = 1.275 m/s
K = 100 (n = 0.01)
Æ internal ~ 100 mm or 0.10 m
R = 0.10 m ÷ 4 = 0.025 m

and Dh = 0.022 x 60 = 1.34 m

If local head losses are:

filter F1 = 10 m
filter F2 = 20 m
UV lamp = 5 m

for a total of 35 m, then total head losses = 1.34 m + 35 m = 36.34 m
which means a load line in A2 = (+10.00) + 36.34 = (+46.34) m

(d) Head losses for primary external circuit (see (a) above), where:

L = 150 m
Q = 10 l/s
U = 1.275 m/s
K = 100 (n = 0.01)
Æ internal ~ 100 mm or 0.10 m
R = 0.10 ÷ 4 = 0.025 m

and Dh = 0.022 x 150 = 3.30 m, which means a head loss at the outlet of the pump equal to (+46.34) + 3.30 = (+49.64) m

Circuit B

(a) Residual load necessary at the end of the distribution lines in the secondary circuit: 5m which means a line of load = (+4.00) + 5.00 = (+9.00) m

(b) Head losses into secondary distribution circuit (see (a) above), where:

L = 50 m
Qe = 29 l/s
U = 1.16 m/s
K = 100 (n = 0.01)
Æ internal ~ 180 mm or 0.18 m
R = (0.18) ÷ 4 = 0.045 m

and Dh = 0.0084 x 50 = 0.42 m
which means a loadline in B3 = (+9.00) + 0.42 = (+9.42) m

(c) Head losses for internal primary circuit (see (a) above), where:

L = 60 m
Q = 50 l/s
U = 1.265 m/s
K = 100 (n = 0.01)
Æ internal ~ 224 mm or 0.224 m
R = 0.224 ÷ 4 = 0.056 m

and Dh = 0.0075 x 60 = 0.45 m
If local head losses for filter F1 = 15 m
then total head losses = 0.45 + 15 = 15.45 m
and the load line in B2 is (+9.42) + 15.45 = (+24.87) m

(d) Head losses in the external primary circuit (see (a) above), where:

L = 150 m
Q = 50 l/s
U = 1.265 m/s
K = 100 (n = 0.01)
Æ internal ~ 224 mm or 0.224 m
R = 0.224 ÷ 4 = 0.056 m

and Dh = 0.0075 x 150 = 1.125 m
This means a load line in B1 at the outlet of the pump equal to (+24.87) + 1.125 = (+25.995) m.

Circuit C

(a) Feeding pipe to the reservoir:

- load at the pipe feeding the reservoir: (+9.42) m
- load at the top of the reservoir where the water is distributed: (+5.50) m
- head losses into the distribution pipe to the reservoir (see (a) above), where:
L = 4 m
Q = 3 l/s
U = 1.0 m/s
K = 100 (n = 0.01)
Æ internal ~ 53 mm or 0.053 m
R = 0.053 ÷ 4 = 0.01325 m

and Dh = 0.032 x 4 = 0.13 m
which means a load necessary to distribute 3 l/s at the top of the reservoir equal to (+5.50) + 0.13 = (+5.63) m.

(b) Distribution pipe

- Minimal load at the starting point of the pipe at the reservoir (with the most unfavourable conditions):
(+4.25) m
- Head losses into distribution pipe (see (a) above), where:

L = 50 m
Qe = 1.75 l/s
U = 0.565 m/s
K = 100 (n = 0.01)
Æ internal ~ 63.2 mm or 0.0632 m
R = 0.0632.. 4 = 0.0159 m

and Dh = 0.008 x 50 = 0.40 m
which means a load line at the end of the distribution pipe equal to (+4.25) - 0.40 = (+3.85) m.

Thus, the load available at the end of this pipe situated at (+3.50 m) is:
(3.85) - (3.50) = 0.35 m, a very low load which will make use of large valves compulsory.

Example: Water outlet system


There are several possible solutions to design the main outlet system. Three different ways are provided as example:

In all cases, let us assume that the main gutter should allow the drainage (in good hydraulic conditions) of around 60 l/s with a total length of 150 m.


The calculation is based on various formulas according to the kind of system used (open or closed):

· For an open channel use the Bazin formula:

Q = US where:


Bazin roughness coefficieng varies as follows:

concrete smooth surface

= 0.06

surface in stones or bricks

= 0.16

surface in masonry

= 0.45


= 0.85

ordinary embankment

= 1.30

rocks embankment

= 1.75

The different values for C are thus function of g

· For a closed pipeline: use the Manning-Strickler formula:

Q = U S where
U = K R2/3 i1/2

with K = 90 for a free flow in concrete or reinforced concrete pipelines and K = 95 for a flow under pressure in concrete or reinforced concrete pipelines.

These two formulas are applied in the following examples where the relevant calculations are shown. However, an abacus for each formula can also be used for faster approximate calculations.

Main gutter as a triangular ditch in the ground (Bazin formula)

g= 1.30
Q = 60 l/s or 0.06 m3/s
Section: type I

- length: 150 m
- bottom width: nil
- side slope: 2:1
- water height (downstream): 0.50 m
- wet section (downstream): S = 0.50 m2

U = Q ÷ S = 0.06 ÷ 0.50 = 0.12 m/s
Wet perimeter P = 2.24 m
R = S ÷ P = 0.50 » 2.24 ² 0.22 m
C = 23.1
i = U2 ÷ C2 R = (0.12)2 ÷ (23.1)2 (0.22) = 0.000123 m/m
Dh = 0.000123 m/m x 150 m ~ 0.02 m
which means, following the scheme, the following water levels:

- downstream: (+0.50 m)
- upstream: (+0.50) + 0.02 = (+0.52 m)

Fig. 50 - Aerial view of water circulation in hatchery and farm (TIMAR, Portugal)

Main gutter as a rectangular channel in concrete (Bazin formula)

g = 0.06 m
Q = 60 l/s or 0.06 m3/s
Section: type II

- length: 150 m
- width: 0.30 m
- water height (downstream): 0.30 m
- wet section (downstream): 0.09 m2

U = Q ÷ S = 0.06 ÷ 0.09 = 0.67 m/s
Wet perimeter P = 0.90 m

R = S ÷ P = 0.09 ÷ 0.90 » 0.10 m
C = 73.1
i = U2 ÷ C2 R = (0.67)2 ÷ (73.1)2 (0.10) » 0.00084 m/m
Dh = 0.00084 m/m x 150 m ~ 0.125 m
which means, following the scheme, the following water levels:

- downstream: (+0.50 m)
- upstream: (+0.50) + 0.125 = (+0.625 m)

Main gutter as a round concrete pipe (Manning-Strickler formula)

K = 90, "free flow"
Q = 60 l/s or 0.06 m3 /s
Section: type III

Æ D = 0.50 m
S = tD2 ÷ 4 = 3.14 (0.50)2 ÷ 4 = 0.196 m2
P = tD = 3.14 * 0.50 = 1.57 m
R = S/P = 0.196 ÷ 1.57


Dh = 0.000178 m x 150 m = 0.03 m
which means pipeline levels as follows:

- downstream: (+0.50 m)
- upstream: (+0.50) + 0.03 = (+0.53 m)

Fig. 51 - Water outlets

Fig. 52 - Main pumping station using axial propeller pump (source: ETEC catalogue)

2.13 PUMPS

For our purposes it is possible to define a pump as a device able to increase the mechanical energy of a liquid, or in more practical terms, a machine able to push a fluid from one point to another.

Pumps are frequently made of cast iron or 304 stainless steel. However, in marine hatcheries, because of corrosion problems linked to the use of seawater as pumped liquid, these two metals are not suitable and other materials like bronze, 316 stainless steel or plastic are preferable. When only cast iron or 304 stainless steel pumps are available, they have to be well protected outside and inside with an epoxy coating. For semi-closed circuits, in which pollution by metal ions should be avoided, plastic pumps are strongly recommended.

Pumps are generally driven by electric two/three-phase engines or, in sites where electricity is not available, by diesel engines. The latter are mostly employed in the case of low pumping heads and large water flows and are only used if the hatchery is linked to a land-based growout farm.

Types of electrical pumps

Although a large number of pumping systems exists, it is possible to group them into three categories as follows:

In view of the above, the following sections will only deal with electrical turbine pumps.

Turbine pumps

Turbine pumps are rotative and usually have a rigid connection to the engine. They are simple, relatively small, light and easy to maintain. According to the type of impeller used and the way it works, turbine pumps used in hatcheries and aquaculture farms can be of three types:

Centrifugal pumps are designed for medium water flows and great heights, while propeller pumps raise very large flows at low heights (only a few meters).

Fig. 53 - Centrifugal pump

Depending on construction criteria adopted, turbine pumps can also be classified in the following categories according to:

As far as position of the turbine pump in relation to the water level in the sump, pumps can be classified as follows:

Hatcheries are generally equipped with centrifugal turbine pumps, with a horizontal or a vertical axis. They are usually mono-stage and produce low or medium pressures. They can be surface, immersed or submersed pumps depending on the sites.

Information requirements for the design of a pumping system

Concerning fluids:

Information concerning pumps:

If suction and discharge take place under atmospheric pressure, total head is calculated as TH (in MLC) = GH + J SUC + J DIS

If pressures (in kg/cm2) at suction and discharge points are different, say P1 at suction and P2 at discharge, you can refer to a homogeneous system by using instead:

where g is the density (in kg/dm3) of the pumped liquid, which is close to 1 for sea water. The above formula then becomes:

TH (in MLC) = GH + JSUC + J DIS + 10 [(P2 - P1) ÷ g]

Fig. 54 - Section of submersible pump

The suction performance of a pump, taking into consideration its technical characteristics and the way it is installed, is determined by the net positive suction head (NPSH). Two types of NPSH exist:

1. the available NPSH, which is the value of the absolute pressure measured at the pump intake considering the type, materials and equipment used for construction of the intake, such as pipe diameter, type and other fittings;

2. the required NPSH, which is a set of values given by the manufacturer for each type of pump and for a given speed of rotation of the engine, and which is shown as a curve relating NPSH to pump outflow.

For a pumping installation to work properly, it is necessary that the available NPSH is greater than the required NPSH by a few decimetres. The value of the available NPSH for water supply under depression in a free water basin such as the sea, is equal to: 10 m - (GH + J SUC).

Figure 55 gives an example of available and required NPSH curves. The operating point of the pump must be situated to the left of the vertical line passing by the intersection of the two curves, so that available NPSH be greater than the required NPSH.

Fig. 55 - Example of available and required NPSH pump curves

Fig. 56 - Typical pump curves (Source: J. Fletcher, Zoeller Company)


Calculation of the pumping system

The calculation of the pumping system can be carried out after the data mentioned in the previous sections on pipelines and pumps characteristics have been collected. The steps required are as follows:

1. Define the characteristics of the hydraulic system(s) and calculate the following:

(a) geometric head (GH): the difference between the maximum level of discharge and the water level in the sump from where water is pumped.

(b) total pressure losses (J TOT): consider the maximum flow necessary for the circuit. Include pipe losses, losses due to special fittings (elbows, T-junctions, valves, etc.), and losses due to all equipment installed in the hydraulic system. These partial pressure losses should be measured in metres of liquid column (MLC) and can be determined by using graphs or manufacturer's technical specifications. When water is pumped by suction it is very important to ascertain that the selected diameter of the suction pipeline fulfils the condition: (available NPSH) > (required NPSH), as described above.

2. Transfer the characteristic curve of the pipeline (defined by TH = GH + J TOT) onto a graph.

3. Transfer the three characteristic curves of the pump (QH, Rdt, PQ) explained above onto the same graph.

4. Finally, define the point S at the intersection of QH curve and characteristic curve of the pipeline. This gives the operating point of the pump, which should be located close to the maximum of the pump efficiency curve (Rdt).

The total flow necessary is obtained by increasing the number of pumps, as a multiple of the flow of a single pump. Any modification of the curves mentioned above will cause a change in the operating point at the expenses of pump efficiency.

Power absorbed

The power (P in CV) absorbed by a pump can be estimated by the following formula:


Q is the flow in m3/s
TH is the total head in m
Rdt is the pump efficiency as given in the technical specifications by the manufacturer.


To make the correct choice when installing a pumping system, it is also very important to consider the three following points:

1. Use the equipment that best suits local conditions, and is the most reliable and easiest to maintain;

2. Choose the equipment necessary to guarantee a continuous supply of water to the hatchery, making sure that this supply is not under-sized as water availability is essential for hatchery security;

3. Evaluate the investment cost in relation to the two previous points. Beware of proposals that appear to be very convenient at first but can be very expensive.

Such a choice should be made for each installation but it can be guided in general by the following further considerations derived from experience.

Choice of pump category

For a hatchery with a flow requirement varying from a few litres per second to up to 100 l/s, and with a maximum total head of 40 m, the best choice appears to be a mono-stage turbine centrifugal pump.

Choice of pump type

When water is pumped directly from the sea by suction and without the use of a sump, the only pumps adapted to this job are the horizontal mono-stage centrifugal pumps.

When water is pumped from a sump, the choice has to be made between a dry, a semi-submersed and a submersed centrifugal pump. The final choice should be made according to the above considerations on service and cost rather than strictly from a technical point of view, even though the submersed pumps appear to be more suitable for this kind of installation. They are much easier and quicker to assemble and dismantle.

Choice of number of pump sets

Main pumping station: let us consider one main pumping station that should deliver a non-stop variable flow, reaching a maximum value Qmax:

1. the minimum equipment for this installation is two pump sets, each capable of delivering a flow equal to Qmax and working alternatively for 12 h each. Q installed is equal to 2 Qmax. This represents the cheapest solution in terms of investment, but it is the most uneconomical in terms of running costs, as it delivers too much water during a long period and the pumps are under-utilized as they can operate for 16 instead of 12 h;

2. it seems thus more interesting to equip this main station with three pump sets of unit flow equal to Qu = 0.5 Qmax, which means that total Q installed is equal to 1.5 Qmax;

3. still better, one could install a group of four pump sets as follows: 2 sets with a unit flow equal to main flow/2 (Qu = 0.5 Qmax); and another 2 sets with a unitary flow equal to main flow/4 (Qu = 0.25 Qmax). In such a case, the total Q installed is equal to 1.5 Qmax as in the case above. Running costs would be much more variable and therefore adapting better to the various situations for flow requirements.

Fig. 57 - Operating diagram for three options of pump sets

These three possible solutions are further analysed in figure 57 where the operating diagrams of the pumping station equipped with two, three or four pump sets are shown.

Translating such calculations into operational costs, and particularly into annual electricity costs for pumping, is important before deciding which type of installation would be preferable.

Secondary pumping station: the equipment of the secondary pumping station consists generally of two to four types of pumps with different characteristics, which vary according to the service units to be supplied with water. The unit flow varies from a few litres per second to about 100 l/s, with a variable total head ranging from 10 to 40m.

A good choice in such cases is to install double sets of each type of pump. Obviously, it will be too costly to treble each pump set, all of them having a different QH. It would be more than reasonable to keep a good stock of spare parts available.

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