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Water Resources and River Management




Admissions requirements

100-level Earth Systems Science or a 200-level/300-level course in the Earth, Energy and Sustainability Major.


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 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.


Once available, timetables will be published here.

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.


  • Final exam: closed book, written and quantitative: 30%

  • Class Participation: contribution to class exercises, discussion and field trips: 5%

  • Hydro lab: Practical skills for conducting hydrologic analysis and assessment of water resources 15%

  • River basin case study report: 25%

  • Quiz: Specific terminology and concepts: 10%

  • Field lab report: 15%


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 (2008, 2nd Ed), by Ro Charlton (Routledge Press). Additionally, students will be provided references to other articles which they can be digitally accessed from the UBL, as well as PowerPoint lectures and lab assignments distributed via the course Blackboard site.


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


Dr. Paul F. Hudson


The course includes two required field trips:

  • Environmental Flows Analysis: a two night camping trip to the Eifel National Park in Germany (transportation and accommodation provided by LUC),

  • Groundwater characterization: field coring and sedimentary characterization in surroundings of The Hague (students will need to arrange bicycle transportation).