Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 24 Hours.
Seminars / Tutorials 4 Hours. Group presentations and discussions
Practical 4 Hours.


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 3,500 word essay  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   examination  50%
Supplementary Assessment Re-submission of failed coursework essay  50%
Supplementary Exam Supplementary examination  50%

Learning Outcomes

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

* appreciate and evaluate the problems and potential methods of solution for the impending global and regional water shortages.

* understand and have the basis for further research into the nature and role of hydrological processes operating within the terrestrial realm.

* use the full range of modern electronic sources of information to research the activities of the major international organizations concerned with global water resources.

Brief description

The module begins by looking at the challenges, the trends and the available resources at the global scale. There follows an in-depth analysis of current understanding of hydrological processes at the river basin scale, from evaporation losses to water pathways in the soil and rocks, conlcuding with an introduction to methods of hydrological modelling. The relevance of these processes to real-world problems is emphasised throughout, e.g. the effects of changing vegetation and of urbanisation, and the effects of pathways on pollution.

The module concludes with a section on managing resources, covering the design of major water management systems, success and failure of large dams, dealing with floods and droughts, environmental protection and rehabilitation, international hydropolitics, environmental terrorism, the threat of corporate enterprise to equitable provisions and the predicted impact on global warming. It concludes with an assessment of the relative merits of new sources of water compared with methods of water saving.

Teaching includes computer-based practicals and a fieldtrip for each of the main sections, group researches an presentations on key issues.


1) General Introduction:

  • The basic issues - the 'water crisis', environmental impacts, the role of process studies and scientifc theory in optimising exploitation and protection
  • The demand curve - sources of increasing pressure on resources: domestic and municipal, industrial, agricultural and wastewater
  • Global resources - the hydrological cycle, storage, distribution and limits
  • Assessing resources and monitoring processes - from surface stations to satellites and weather radar
2) Environmental processes

  • Evaporation, evapotranspiration and interception losses
  • Effects of changing vegetation cover on water quantity
  • Overland flow
  • Urban effects on hydrological processes
  • Water pathways in soil and rocks - infiltration, soil moisture, throughflow, pipeflow and groundwater
  • Snowcover, snowmelt processes and predicting snowmelt runoff
  • Streamflow modelling - black box to synthetic and physically based simulation
Practical: CAL River basin processes and modelling
Fieldtrip: CEH Institute of Hydrology experimental catchments, Plynlimon

3) Managing resources:
  • Design of major water management systems - operational hydrology, integrated water resource management, strategic transfers and large dams: successes and failures
  • Environmental protection and rehabilitation - pollution and water quality management: failures and successful programmes
  • Hydropolitics, 'water wars' and environmental terrorism (group presentations)
  • Privatisation, commercialisation and globalisation - the 'corporate threat'
  • The threat of global warming - changing processes and resources, methods of estimation and management
  • New sources versus conserving resources - desalination, using snow and ice resources, rainmaking vs metering, fixing leaks, controlling evaporation losses and constructing interbasin transfers (group presentations)
Practical: The roles and activities of international water related organisations, based on CD-Rom and internet searches (2000 word essay)
Fieldtrip: Water resources development and environmental impact in mid-Wales-Rheidol, Clywedog and Elan (1 day)

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Communication Seminar group presentations and discussions.
Improving own Learning and Performance Project write-up as extended essay (same as above)
Information Technology Use of internet access data archives and assess work of international water-related organisations. (CAL sessions.) Assessed through the extended essays based on this.
Personal Development and Career planning Developing career oriented interests and skills.
Problem solving Identifying factors that might influence potential solutions. Evaluating advantages and disadvantages of solutions.
Research skills Group presentations and individual extended essays.
Subject Specific Skills Familiarisation with specific instrumentation and research design, extreme event analysis and data archives
Team work Group presentations and discussions

Reading List

Recommended Text
Grayson, R. and G. Bloschl (eds.) (2001) Spatial Patterns in Catchment Hydrology: Observations and Modelling Cambridge University Presss Primo search Jones, J.A.A. (1997) Global Hydrology: processes, resources and environmental management 4th Longman Primo search Parker, D.J. (ed.) (2000) Floods, volume I & II Routledge Primo search Ward, R.C. amd M. Robinson (2000) Principles of Hydrology 4th McGraw-Hill Primo search Jones, J.A.A. (1999) Climate change and sustainable water resources: placing the threat of global warming in perspective, Hydrological Sciences Journal. Primo search Jones, J.A.A. and I.J. van der Walt (eds) (2004) Barriers and solutions to sustainable water resources in Africa, Geojournal Kluwer Primo search Jones, J.A.A. and M-K Woo (eds) (2002) Modelling the impact of climate change on hydrological regimes, Hydrological Processes Primo search Piling, C. and Jones, J.A.A. (2002) The impact of future climate change on seasonal discharge, hydrological processes and extreme flows in the Upper Wye experimental catchment, mid Wales, Hydrological Processes. Primo search Xia, J. and K Takeuchi (eds) (1999) Barriers to Sustainable Management of Water Quality and Quantity, Hydrological Sciences Journal. Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6