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Quick summary

Figure 1: Telemac2D: Modeling of an embankment failure (Source:
Figure 2: Telemac-3D: Three-dimensional velocity field (Source:
Figure 3: Telemac2d+Sisyphe: Morphodynamic evolution in meandering bars (Source:
Figure 4: Telemac-3d+Sisyphe:Three-dimensional flow pattern and bed deformation (Source:

TELEMAC is a 2D shallow water and 3D RANS Navier-Stokes code for hydro-morphodynamic computations in mainly rivers. The program is open source.

Developed by: Laboratoire National d'Hydraulique et Environnement (LNHE), part of the R&D group of Électricité de France.

Date: 1991 (and later)

Type: Tool


An international consortium of research institutes, agencies and companies manages the open source software TELEMAC ( Originally developed in France, the software is now freely available and the FORTRAN-based source code is open for developers and users. The software is structured in modules, which can be coupled depending on the purpose. The most common module is Telemac-2D, which is a 2D depth averaged, shallow water based hydrodynamic solver for free surface flows. The more complex model,Telemac-3D, provides RANS averaged three dimensional information on the flow. Both modules can be coupled to Sisyphe, the morphological module, representing sediment transport. Figures 1-4 provide an overview of some selected modules. For completeness, the others are Artemis and Tomawac (for wave and coastal areas), Nestor (extension for Sisyphe), and the one-dimensional solver Mascaret.


TELEMAC is well suited to model flow and hydro-morphological processes in rivers, by using either a classical, two-dimensional shallow-water approach or a fully 3D RANS based Navier-Stokes solver. The program has a large number of empirical bed-load and suspended load transport formulae implemented. Additionally, customized developments and extensions can be implemented as described below.

Relevant mitigation measures and test cases

Relevant measures
Baffle fishways
Bottom-type intakes (Coanda screen, Lepine water intake, etc)
Bypass combined with other solutions
Complete or partial migration barrier removal
Construction of a 'river-in-the-river'
Construction of off-channel habitats
Drawdown reservoir flushing
Environmental design of embankments and erosion protection
Fish guidance structures with narrow bar spacing
Fish refuge under hydropeaking conditions
Migration barrier removal
Mitigating rapid, short-term variations in flow (hydro-peaking operations)
Mitigating reduced annual flow and low flow measures
Mitigating reduced flood peaks, magnitudes, and frequency
Nature-like fishways
Other types of fine screens
Placement of dead wood and debris
Placement of spawning gravel in the river
Placement of stones in the river
Pool-type fishways
Removal of weirs
Restoration of the riparian zone vegetation
Skimming walls (fixed or floating)
Vertical slot fishways
Relevant test cases Applied in test case?
Altheim test case -
Altusried test case -
Anundsjö test case -
Bannwil test case -
Bragado test case -
Freudenau test case Yes
Gotein test case -
Günz test case Yes
Ham test case -
Las Rives test case -
Schiffmühle test case -
Trois Villes test case -

Other information

The availability of the source code makes TELEMAC suitable for developments, extensions and research purposes, beyond the existing framework. On the TELEMAC homepage information on user-specific developments can be found in a source code repository or in the proceedings of the user community events. For example, at TUM the following user-specific extensions have been developed or are currently under development:

  • Development for sediment transport to improve the process description and the stability of the code.
  • Integration of innovative, data-driven methods instead of classical, morphological simulation approaches.
  • Further code optimization for one of the fastest High-Performance-Computer worldwide.
  • Concept to provide the computational grid, to estimate relevant parameters and to perform an automated, iterative model calibration.

Relevant literature

  • Galland, J.C.; Goutal, N., Hervouet, J.M. (1991), TELEMAC: A New Numerical Model for Solving Shallow Water Equations, Advances in Water Resources, 14 (3): 138-148,
  • Goutal, N. and Maurel, F. (2002). A Finite Volume Solver for 1D Shallow-Water Equations Applied to an Actual River.Int. J. Numer. Meth. Fluids; 38:1-19.
  • Goutal, N., Lacombe, J.-M., Zaoui, F., El-Kadi-Abderrezzak, K. (2012). MASCARET: a 1-D Open-Source Software for Flow Hydrodynamic and Water Quality in Open Channel Networks. River Flow 2012 – Murillo (Ed.), pp. 1169-1174

Contact information