After a brief discussion of some undesirable features of a number of different partial differential equations often employed in the existing literature on water waves, a relatively simple restricted theory is constructed by a direct approach which is particularly suited for applications to problems of fluid sheets. The rest of the paper is concerned with a derivation of a system of nonlinear differential equations (which may include the effects of gravity and surface tension) governing the two-dimensional motion of incompressible in-viscid fluids for propagation of fairly long waves in a nonhomogeneous stream of water of variable initial depth, as well as some new results pertaining to hydraulic jumps. The latter includes an additional class of possible solutions not noted previously.

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