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Water Resources & River Management


Admission requirements

Completion of one of the following courses: 100-level Earth Systems Science or a 200-level or 300-level course in the Earth, Energy and Sustainability Major. Students should also have an affinity for the natural sciences.


Are floods and droughts becoming more frequent and severe? Are such hydrologic “disasters” triggered by natural or human causes? What are the implications of climate change to flood risk, agriculture, river erosion, infrastructure, and aquatic habitat? What do changes in water resources imply to human and biophysical sustainability? How do we sustainably manage rivers in view of the multiple competing interests? The answer to these questions is at the core of modern hydrologic sciences.

The goal of this course is to provide a broad and rigorous overview of the field of physical hydrology and river management within a watershed framework as related to freshwater resources and sustainability.

Specific topics will include flood analysis, land use change and hydrologic response, environmental flows analysis, channel hydraulics and erosion, hydrologic ecosystem services, sediment transport, stream restoration, “integrated” river and floodplain management, water resources, and global environmental change. Students will be exposed to modern theory and practical methods of hydrologic and geomorphic sciences through lectures, class discussion, and hands-on assignments.

Course Objectives


  • Employ basic quantitative methods to characterize streamflow variability and flooding,

  • Can identify appropriate methodological approaches to examine different subfields of hydrology and freshwater resource management,

  • Can characterize various ecosystem services as related to watershed management

  • Can utilize sedimentary deposits to reconstruct streamflow regime.


  • Can rigorously and comprehensively characterize Earth’s hydrologic cycle,

  • Can integrate specific subfields of hydrology within a “watershed framework”,

  • Can identify and describe consequences of different human impacts, especially land use change and engineering for flood control, to Earth’s surface from the standpoint of freshwater resources and environmental change,

  • Can describe the role of hydrological sciences to the broader subject of sustainability

  • Can outline a model of effective governance in sustainable water resource management.


Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2020-2021 will be published on this page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

Each class topic includes and/or reviews 1. Relevant processes and/or methods, 2. Human impacts to environmental processes, and 3. Direct and indirect linkages to sustainability and management. The course is taught in a lecture and open discussion format, and students expected to contribute to class discussion. To assure optimal participation students are required to have read prior to coming to class. Laptops, phones, and other digital media may only be used if granted permission.

Assessment Method


Reading list

Students will be provided references to chapters and articles which can be digitally accessed from the UBL, as well as PowerPoint lectures, internet sites, and lab assignments distributed via the course Brightspace site.


Courses offered at Leiden University College (LUC) are usually only open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Leiden University students who participate in one of the university’s Honours tracks or programmes may register for one LUC course, if availability permits. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator,


Dr. Paul F. Hudson,