Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
The Water Framework Directive, Water Quality and Hydrological Extremes
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 11 x 3 Hour Lectures


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment ORAL PRESENTATION  20%
Semester Assessment REPORT  4000 word technical report  80%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmission of failed elements of coursework. Presentation marks are carried forward.  Presentation marks to be carried forward. Resubmit elements of coursework.  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Describe and evaluate the management actions required to achieve the principles of drainage-basin scale water management as outlined in the Water Framework Directive (2000).

Critically evaluate the place of daughter Directives in establishing numerical standards for 'protected area' as illustrated using the Bathing Water Directive (2006) and the implications for: (i) catchment microbial dynamics; (ii) legal compliance at WFD Annex 4 'protected areas'; and (iii) public health.

Critically evaluate the concept of 'good ecological' status for EU waters and be able to apply environmental data within an appropriate operationally derived modelling framework to determine the ecological status of coastal waters using a data set and case study based on the Island of Jersey and its near-shore waters.

Present succinct and well focused science information and conclusions

Brief description

The module is split into two sections. The first uses the example of catchment microbial dynamics to illustrate the implementation of the WFD in UK and EU catchment systems. Parallels with the US Clean Water Act are drawn and the wider literature on River Basin management and planning is used in this context. The current implementation of the revised Bathing Water Directive (2006) from 2012 to 2015 is used to illustrate the processes and evidence bases required for WFD implementation.

The second topic explains and explores the concept of `Good Ecological? status (or condition) which is a central aim of the WFD. Here, interaction between land-based nutrient flux and coastal eutrophication is illustrated using a case study centred on the Island of Jersey. The Comprehensive Studies Task Team (1994, and 1997) reports are used to illustrate the UK/EU approach to eutrophication risk assessment and an empirical data base, describing nutrient flux, near-shore water quality and key driving variables is made available to the class together with a simple numerical model which can be used for scenario testing. This case study forms the core of the student coursework assessment.


1. Principles of the `English Directive? the WFD.
2. Catchment microbial dynamics.
3. Public health and epidemiology ? derivation of health-based microbial standards.
4. Real-time regulation the WHO `predict and protect? philosophy.
5. Modelling microbial flux and concentrations challenges in terrestrial and near-shore systems.
6. Good ecological condition: nutrient drivers; eutrophication processes effects and impacts.
7. Measurement approaches; invertebrates; algae; diatoms.
8. The Jersey case study: a history of diffuse nutrient flux and regulatory challenges.
9. The CSTT eutrophication risk model and its application
10. Critical appraisal of the CSTT model and its data requirements and introduction to the coursework unit

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Numerical analysis is core to the work
Communication Principally written communication of research findings with a supplementary scientific presentation
Improving own Learning and Performance Individual study and problem solving through the project work
Information Technology Central to the project delivery using the Excel model provided as part of the CSTT evaluation
Personal Development and Career planning The students undertake a policy-relevant analysis
Problem solving The project is developing the use of empirical data to produce a policy relevant evidence base and problem solving ability.
Research skills Critical evaluation of field data and analysis of said quantitative data
Subject Specific Skills
Team work


This module is at CQFW Level 7