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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

GEOG3065 Water Science & Management

20 creditsClass Size: 100

Module manager: Dr Gordon Mitchell

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Water is an essential resource for humans and ecosystems. Knowledge of its distribution and quality, and how best to manage hydrological systems is required by scientists, government agencies and NGOs across the globe. This module aims to develop an understanding of major foci in water science and management, concentrating on river systems and their catchments. It addresses the natural dynamics of river systems with respect to temporal variability of flows, water quality, river landscape/morphology, and ecological communities. The module also introduces some of the serious issues necessitating management of rivers and catchments, due to water pollution, and hydrological and geomorphological alteration. The module considers approaches to managing water sustainably, addressing issues of both the natural environment and the potable water resources management system. Key water policy and legislation is explored.


On completion of this module students should be able to:
1. demonstrate an advanced level of knowledge of water science across a range of spatial and temporal scales,
2. evaluate the scientific underpinning of key pieces of water policy/legislation through the study of hydrogeomorphology, aquatic ecosystems, water quality and water management,
3. critically evaluate key ideas, concepts and models underpinning the aquatic sciences, using detailed case studies,
4. appreciate the importance of an holistic understanding for effective catchment management,
5. perform appropriate data analysis techniques to understand and manipulate datasets used by various water scientists, and demonstrate awareness of their advantages and limitations.

Learning outcomes
Learning outcomes
On completion of the module students should have detailed knowledge of:
1. Hydrological and geomorphological processes
2. Water quality
3. River ecosystems
4. Sustainable water management

Skills outcomes
A Knowledge and Understanding
A1 The dynamic nature of geographical thought and practice and the inter-relationships between the discipline and the physical and natural sciences, the social sciences and humanities
A2 The diversity of global environments and the operation of, and inter-relationships between physical and biological systems over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales
A3 Patterns and processes of environmental change and their inter-relationships with human activities

B Cognitive skills
B1 Abstraction and synthesis of information from a variety of sources
B2 Assessment and critical evaluation of the merits of contrasting theories, explanations, policies
B3 Critical analysis and interpretation of data and text
B4 Developing reasoned arguments
B5 Solving problems and making reasoned decisions

C Practical/professional skills
C1 Plan, design, execute and report geographical research both individually and as part of a team
C3 Employ a variety of technical methods for the analysis and presentation of spatial and environmental information (e.g. GIS, water chemistry, etc)
C4 Collect, interpret and synthesise different types of quantitative and qualitative geographical data

D Key skills
D1 Learn in familiar and unfamiliar situations
D2 Communicate effectively (in writing, verbally and through graphical presentations)
D3 Apply numerical and computational skills to geographical information
D4 Use information technology effectively (including use of spreadsheet, database and word processing programmes; Internet and e-mail)
D5 Identify, retrieve, sort and exchange geographical information using a wide range of sources
D6 Work as part of a team and to recognise and respect the viewpoints of others
D7 Manage time and organise work effectively


1. Hydro-geomorphology (e.g. catchment hydrology, flow regimes, flooding and extreme events);
2. Water quality (e.g. physical and chemical, urban and rural point and diffuse pollution, typical and
emerging contaminants);
3. River ecosystems (e.g. biodiversity, in stream habitat, spatial and temporal dynamics);
4. Sustainable water management (e.g. land management, sustainable urban drainage, water
resource management planning, river/catchment restoration)

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Drop-in Session13.003.00
Drop-in Session22.004.00
Private study hours153.00
Total Contact hours47.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Private study spread over the two semesters involves:
1. Reading research papers to embed and extend knowledge from lectures
2. Reading for, and preparation of, practical work
3. Reading and preparation for essays

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Informal question/answer sessions during lectures, and timetabled drop-in meetings

Practical sessions under supervision, before individual write up

Essay assessment

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2000 words50.00
Practical2000 words report50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 28/04/2023 14:56:06


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