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Water Resources and River Management




Admissions requirements

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, 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.


Once available, timetables will be published in 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.


  • Final exam: 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 20%

  • Integrated River Basin Management and Governance case study report: 25%

  • Quiz: Specific terminology and concepts: 10%

  • Field lab report: 10%


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

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 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 three required field trips:

  • Environmental Flows Analysis: a two night camping trip to the Eifel National Park in Germany. Students will be expected to camp out or stay in a pension. Transportation and accommodation will be supplemented by LUC (camping is completely covered), although students may have some minor expenses for food, etc. Please see the following write-up of last year’s field trip.

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

  • Zuid Holland and Climate Change Management: examining historic polders and water management, Delta Works, intensive agriculture, and climate change mitigation (one day). Please see the following write-up of last year’s field trip to South Holland delta lands and water works.