Water engineering is an amalgam of engineering (e.g., hydraulics, hydrology, irrigation, ecosystems, environment, water resources) and non-engineering (e.g., social, economic, political) aspects that are needed for planning, designing and managing water systems. These aspects and the associated issues have been dealt with in the literature using different techniques that are based on different concepts and assumptions. A fundamental question that still remains is: Can we develop a unifying theory for addressing these? The second law of thermodynamics permits us to develop a theory that helps address these in a unified manner. This theory can be referred to as the entropy theory
. The thermodynamic entropy theory is analogous to the Shannon entropy or the information theory. Perhaps, the most popular generalization of the Shannon entropy is the Tsallis entropy. The Tsallis entropy has been applied to a wide spectrum of problems in water engineering. This paper provides an overview of Tsallis entropy theory in water engineering. After some basic description of entropy and Tsallis entropy, a review of its applications in water engineering is presented, based on three types of problems: (1) problems requiring entropy maximization; (2) problems requiring coupling Tsallis entropy theory with another theory; and (3) problems involving physical relations.
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