• Class Number 1545
  • Term Code 2920
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Sara Beavis
    • Prof Ian White
    • Dr Sara Beavis
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 04/02/2019
  • Class End Date 11/03/2019
  • Census Date 15/02/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 15/02/2019
    • Dylan Stinton
SELT Survey Results

Knowledge of the physical, chemical and biological processes involved when water in its many forms interacts with land is fundamental to managing natural resources and in dealing with the increasing environmental challenges confronting us in the 21st century.  Faced with global change, an understanding of water science is increasingly important in relation to secure water supply; assessing water demand; safeguarding water quality in multi-use catchments and aquifers; maintaining human health; ensuring food and energy security; and sustaining the ecosystems which support us.  Professionals who are aware of the concepts, principles and practices relevant to surface and groundwater hydrology and river processes are needed to work in a variety of water-related fields.    

This course is structured around the water cycle and the concepts of mass and energy balance.  The different pathways that water takes as it cycles through the atmosphere, biosphere and lithosphere are examined, as are the interactions of the cycle’s components and their influence on geomorphic and geochemical processes and ecological function. Surface and groundwater are considered as an integrated system, including both their flows and quality. Students will become familiar with hydrological processes and the techniques required to address water security and landscape management, with a focus on Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. Practicals, problem-solving workshops and field studies provide opportunities to develop skills in sampling, analysing and presenting data that relate to catchment characteristics, processes and change.


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. describe hydrological and associated geomorphic processes, and their importance in environmental management
  2. interpret the relationships between water and the regolith which control landform evolution and water quality
  3. explain principles of, and demonstrate field skills in, hydrological and geomorphic measurement
  4. describe and compare practical examples of hydrology and landscape in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region
  5. appreciate the relationship between raw data and the interpretation(s) that stem from them, and how limited 

Research-Led Teaching

The research activities of the course convenor, and Prof Ian White inform and underpin this course. In practical classes, students will be working with real data derived from that research or from their own field measurements, as well as data held within the public domain. This year, students will be collaborating with engineering students to study acid mine drainage and to conceptualise the development of solutions to this environmental issue. 

Field Trips

During the second week of the course, students will be working in small groups to take hydrological measurements and observations on which a field report will be based. There is no extra cost for these trips for students.These will be daily trips out to the same site(s) returning to ANU by 5pm each day. Participants need to bring lunch, drinking water, writing utensils, and wear field clothes including closed shoes and a hat. Volunteer student drivers and first aiders will be sought.

Additional Course Costs

There are no extra costs for students.

Examination Material or equipment

Students are permitted to use a non-progammable calculator, copies of lecture notes and powerpoints, and practical notebooks. For students for whom English is a second language, a dictionary without annotations is also permitted.

Required Resources

A non-programmable calculator will be useful for some practical classes.

Students are encouraged to read the recommended textbook, Davie, T. (2008) Fundamentals of Hydrology, Routledge, London. Readings will also be posted on Wattle each week. These readings are not compulsory but are very valuable in supporting and extending learning. Students are encouraged to search the literature for relevant papers and reference material.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • Written comments on assignments;
  • Written and verbal comments on group activities;
  • Verbal feedback to the whole class on group activities and on assignments;
  • Additional, individual feedback on request.

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Lecture A: Introduction Lecture B: The hydrological cycle and the water balance Lecture C: Climate in our region Practical: Working with hydrological data Practical worksheet
2 Lecture A: Precipitation Lecture B: Evapotranspiration &interception Lecture C: Infiltration Practical: Rainfall Analysis Practical worksheet
3 Lecture A: Soil water Lecture B: Groundwater Lecture C: Groundwater Flow Practical: Groundwater Measurement Practical worksheet
4 Lecture A: Runoff Lecture B: Streamflow Lecture C: Sediment transport & stream morphology Practical: Stream flow measurement and analysis Practical worksheet
5 Lecture A: Floods Lecture B: Floods Lecture C: Urban hydrology Practical: Analysis of flood data Practical worksheet
6 Lecture A: Coastal hydrology Lecture B: Water quality Lecture C: Water quality Practical: Water quality Practical worksheet
7 Field work: Cotter River Field report
8 Field work: Cotter River Field report
9 Lecture A: Mercury in the environment (guest lecturer) Lecture B: Captains Flat Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) Group work Field work: Captains Flat
10 Practical/Lecture A: Water quality analysis of water for Mercury (GROUP A) Course summary lecture (GROUPS B & C) Practical/Lecture B: Water quality analysis of water for Mercury (GROUP B) Course summary (GROUP A) Revision (GROUP C) Practical/Revision: Water quality analysis of water for Mercury (GROUP C) Revision (GROUP A & C) Group work: Problem scoping and requirements, learning reflections

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Practical exercises 30 % 11/02/2019 26/02/2019 1,2,3,4,5
Field report 30 % 11/03/2019 25/03/2019 2,3,4,5
Take Home Examination 40 % 03/03/2019 17/03/2019 1,2,3,5

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


There is a take home exam for this course released on 1st March and to be submitted via Turnitin by midnight on the 3rd March (a weekend). The paper will comprise three parts reflecting the components of the course ( see the explanation of this under ‘assessment item 3).

Assessment Task 1

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 11/02/2019
Return of Assessment: 26/02/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Practical exercises

Details of task: In the first 6 days of the course, practical exercises will involve problem solving using basic mathematics and statistics; data analysis using Excel, or field based measurement, data collection and analysis. The worksheets need to be submitted before leaving class at the end of the practical that day, in hardcopy, to the tutor, Dylan Stinton. Marking will be done as quickly as possible so that by the beginning of the second week of the course you should have enough feedback and results to indicate how you are tracking.

Word limit: 500 words

Estimated return date: within three days of submission

Rubric: Please refer to course Wattle site

The date range for these tasks indicates the due date for the first exercise.


Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 11/03/2019
Return of Assessment: 25/03/2019
Learning Outcomes: 2,3,4,5

Field report

The field report will characterise a stream reach based on both field measurements and observations taken during a series of local field trips in the second week of the course. In these field trips you will be required to :

(i) take notes, photographs and make line drawings of sites along several reaches of a stream;

(ii) measure stream velocity and cross sectional area from which to calculate stream discharge;

(iii) survey a number of stream cross sections along the reach(es) to illustrate the stream form and stream width-depth ratios

(iv) measure water quality; 

(v) note stream bank stability and bed material; and (vi) quantify instream invertebrates.

The report will include a description of the study area, and then provide details of the stream reach geomorphology, hydrology and ecology, richly supported by data, drawings, and observations. Reference to the ANZECC water quality guidelines for the relevant use(s) can be applied to assess the ‘condition’ of the stream.. 

Word limit: 2000 words plus references and appendices

Estimated return date: Feedback provided within two weeks of submission

Rubric: Please refer to course Wattle site


Assessment Task 3

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 03/03/2019
Return of Assessment: 17/03/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,5

Take Home Examination

Take Home Examination

Released: 1st March 2019

Due Date: Midnight, 3rd March 2019

The exam will be completed over the weekend and must be submitted by midnight on the 3rd March.

The paper will comprise three (3) sections which will require students to (i) describe key hydrological concepts; (ii) solve problems using simple calculations; and (iii) interpret graphical data. Three (3) questions need to be answered, with at least one from each section of the paper.

The test will be two hours long plus reading time. You may take into the test notes, copies of the lecture powerpoints, and a non-programmable calculator. You can also take in an unannotated dictionary.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

The field report AND the take home exam should be submitted using Turnitin on the course Wattle site. You will be required to attach an assignment cover sheet and electronically sign that declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records.

Hardcopy Submission

All practical exercises will be written and submitted in hardcopy. Also, please note that a hard copy submission of the field report is also required by placing the assignment with a signed assignment cover sheet attached, into the FSES ENVS2020 assignment box in the Forestry Building (48) of the Fenner School.

Late Submission

No submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date will be permitted. If an assessment task is not submitted by the due date, a mark of 0 will be awarded.

The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces, that are not the test due on 3rd March. If you need an extension, you must request it in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Feedback on assignments is provided on hardcopy submissions, and results are included on the hardcopy submissions as well as being posted up on the Wattle gradesheet.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Resubmission of assignments is not permitted.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Sara Beavis
+61 2 6125 8138

Research Interests

Impacts of climate and land use ( including agriculture, mining, forestry and peri-urbanisation) on catchment hydrology and water and sediment quality.

Dr Sara Beavis

Prof Ian White
+61 2 6125 4882

Research Interests

Prof Ian White

Dr Sara Beavis
+61 2 6125 4882

Research Interests

Dr Sara Beavis

Dylan Stinton

Research Interests

Dylan Stinton

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions