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Water Resources and River Management




Admissions requirements

Earth Systems Science and Biostatistics or Quantitative Research Methods.


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. Specific topics will include land use, runoff and soil erosion, groundwater, channel hydraulics and erosion, sediment transport, flood mechanisms, “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, field trip, class discussion, and hands-on assignments.

Course objectives

  • A comprehensive and rigorous knowledge of Earth’s hydrologic cycle,

  • Employ basic quantitative procedures to calculate indices of streamflow and hydrologic variability,

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

  • Characterize different human impacts to river environments, such as dams and reservoirs,

  • Be able to identify appropriate methodological approaches to study different subfields of hydrology,

  • Be able to characterize the interdisciplinary importance of hydrologic sciences for managing various environmental change and management scenarios,

  • Situate hydrological sciences within the broader subject of sustainability.


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

Each class topic includes and/or reviews

  • relevant processes and/or methods,

  • human impacts to environmental processes, and

  • 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.


Students will be assessed in several ways, including individually and working in pairs. Modes of assessment include exams and quizzes, laboratory assignment, and class participation.

Midterm exam: Closed book, written and quantitative, 20% (Week 4).
Final exam: closed book, written and quantitative, 30% (week 8).
Class Participation, 10% (continuously).
Short quiz, 10% (Week 2).
Flood Pulse Lab (3,500 words), computation and figures/graphs, 30% (Week 5).


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

The required textbook for this course is: Fundamentals of Fluvial Geomorphology (2015, 3rd Ed), by Ro Charlton. Routledge. Other articles and online readings distributed via the internet and LUC Blackboard (technical materials and resources not available in text).


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Dr. Paul F. Hudson, .


Recommended readings (for review of basic water/river processes):
Pidwirny, M. and Jones, S. 2010. Fundamentals of Physical Geography, 2nd Ed.

Chapter 8: Introduction to the Hydrosphere,

(a). Physical Properties of Water
(b). The Hydrologic Cycle
(k). Interception, Stemflow, Canopy Drip, and Throughfall
(l). Infiltration and Soil Water Storage
(m). Throughflow and Groundwater Storage
(n). Introduction to Surface Runoff

Chapter 10: Introduction to the Lithosphere,

(w). Erosion and Deposition
(x). Hillslope Processes and Mass Movement
(y). Streamflow and Fluvial Processes
(z). Fluvial Landforms
(aa). The Drainage Basin Concept
(ab). Stream Morphometry