Imbeaux, Edouard

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Edouard Imbeaux


Edouard Imbeaux 1861 (Brémoncourt, France) - 1943 (Hyères, France)


Edouard Imbeaux was a French engineer who graduated from the Ecole des Ponts et Chaussées, but also submitted a doctoral thesis in Medicine. Throughout his career he applied principles of engineering and health to problems of water supply and treatment. His books in 1897 and 1902 summarise his experiences in solving these issues. The practical results were presented at the 1900 Universal Exhibition in Paris. He made a particular study of the formation and prediction of floods in the Durance River in southeast France, and later the problems of groundwater. He travelled to both Australia and the United States to gather more information, resulting in his 1930 book.

He also made proposals for engineering projects. In 1921 he suggested to create a connection between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea to produce hydropower for the electrification of Palestine as well as irrigation and navigation purposes.

Imbeaux became a Professor at the Ecole des Ponts et Chaussées, a position he held until his retirement. He was elected as a Correspondent of the Académie des Sciences in 1912.

Hydrological Achievements[edit]

Edouard Imbeaux was a pioneer and both a national and international expert in urban water supply, waste water treatment, and groundwater. Of particular interest is his 1892 paper which introduces what might be the very first distributed model of a catchment. This was developed as a way of predicting the response of the Durance River for flood forecasting. The model included a time delay discretisation of the catchment for routing purposes, and an elevation based discretisation for the prediction of snowmelt contributions to flood runoff. The snowmelt model was a form of Degree-Day based on temperature (see Beven, K J, 2012, Rainfall-Runoff Modelling - The Primer, Wiley-Blackwell, 2nd Edition, p.26)

He later made contributions to the field of groundwater hydrology, with interactions with Gunther Thiem in Germany (see the paper by Houben and Batalaan 1921).

Reference Material[edit]

Hager, W., 2009, Hydraulicians in Europe, 1800 - 2000, Volume 2, CRC Press

Houben, G. J. and Batelaan, O.: The Thiem team – Adolf and Günther Thiem, two forefathers of hydrogeology, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss. [preprint],, in review, 2021

Major Publications[edit]


Imbeaux, E., 1897, Les eaux potables et leurs rôle hygiénique dans le département de Meurthe et Modelle, Editions Nancéienne: Nancy.

Imbeaux, E., 1902, L'alimentation en eau et l'assainissement des villes. Bernard: Paris

IImbeaux, E.: Essai d'hydrogéologie: recherche, étude et captage des eaux souterraines, Paris, Dunod, 1930.

Imbeaux, E., 1935, Qualités de l'eau et moyens de corrections, Junod: Paris


Imbeaux, E., 1892, La Durance: régime, crues et inondations. Annales des Ponts et Chaussées, Mémoires et Documents, 7e séries (Tome III): 5-200.

Imbeaux, E.: Methode de Thiem, dite Epsilon, pour l ́evaluation des eaux d ́une nappe souterraine (alluvions), Le Genie Civile, 79 (18), 370-371, 1921.