In 1926, the Department of Civil Engineering was established in the School of Engineering of Tsinghua University, in which the Water Conservancy Team was the predecessor of the Department of Hydraulic Engineering. In 1933, the old Hydraulic Building (hydraulic experiment museum) was built.
In 1952, the school structure of Tsinghua was adjusted and the Department of Hydraulic Engineering was established with Professor Zhang Ren as the department head. It had three research teams, including Hydro-structure, Water-power Utilization and Hydraulics. Professor Zhang Guangdou, Professor Shi Jiayang and Professor Xia Zhenhuan were the directors of the research teams, respectively. In 1955, the New Hydraulic Building was built. In 1958, Hydraulic and Hydropower Survey and Design School was established with Professor Zhang Guangdou as the dean. According to the instruction of Prime Minister Zhou Enlai, the Department of Hydraulic Engineering took charge of the design of the Miyun Reservoir. The teaching mode integrating teaching, production and scientific research was adopted. The first batch of graduates was enrolled in 1959. In 1969, teachers and students of the Department of Hydraulic Engineering offered teaching services at the Sanmenxia Reservoir Base.
In 1978, the Sanmenxia Reservoir Base was canceled, so the teachers returned back to Beijing gradually. Professor Zhang Xianhong was the department head. College entrance examination was resumed completely. In 1981, the Sediment Lab was built. Hydraulic Structure Engineering, Hydraulics and Fluvial Dynamics, and Geotechnical Engineering were approved to be the first batch of doctoral programs by the Ministry of Education.
In 1951, the Ministry of Education decided to establish the Department of Hydraulic Engineering and the Department of Hydropower Engineering. Professor Shi Jiayang and Professor Zhang Guangdou were the department head, respectively.
In 1985, Professor Dong Zengnan held the post of department head. In 1988, the Department of Water Conservancy Engineering was renamed the Department of Hydraulic Engineering; Hydraulic Structure Engineering was identified as a national key discipline. In 1991, the National Professional Lab of High-Dam Large Structure was established.
Professor Lei Zhidong held the post of department head in 1994. In 1996, six-year postgraduate cultivation mode began. In 1998, it was allowed to cultivate doctoral candidates for primary disciplines. In 1999, the school underwent structural reform to cancel teaching research team and established the research institute and curriculum teaching team according to the secondary disciplines or similar portfolio.
The School of Civil and Hydraulic Engineering of Tsinghua University was established, consisting of the Department of Hydraulic Engineering, the Department of Civil Engineering, the Department of Construction Management, and the State Key Laboratory of Hydroscience and Engineering. In 2001, both Hydraulics and Fluvial Dynamics and Hydraulic Structure Engineering were identified as the national key disciplines. In 2002, the school was established for 50 years. The sculpture “Wise people love waters and benevolent people love mountains” was built.
In the national primary discipline evaluation organized by the Ministry of Education, the discipline of hydraulic engineering of Tsinghua University came first in comprehensive ranking. In 2005, the State Key Laboratory of Hydroscience and Engineering was approved to be built while Hydraulics was awarded the National Excellent Course. In 2006, the Ministry of Science and Technology approved to establish the State Key Laboratory of Hydroscience and Engineering. Soil Mechanics was awarded the National Excellent Course. Professor Zhang Guangdou had been engaged in national hydraulic undertakings for 70 years since 2007. General secretary Hu Jintao sent him a congratulation letter. Hydraulic Structure was awarded the National Excellent Course.
In 2008, the State Key Laboratory of Hydroscience and Engineering passed the evaluation and inspection of the Ministry of Science and Technology with outstanding performance. In 2009, Hydrology Principle and Application was awarded the National Excellent Course.
Tsinghua University celebrated its 100th anniversary. General secretary Hu Jintao investigated the teaching, research and talent cultivation of hydroscience. The New Hydraulic Building has been consolidated and reconstructed. The Tsinghua University Hydraulic Alumni Association was founded. In 2012, the 60th anniversary celebration of the Department of Hydraulic Engineering was held. In 2013, the State Key Laboratory of Hydroscience and Engineering made outstanding performance in the evaluation.