• Class Number 1364
  • Term Code 3020
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Sara Beavis
    • Dr Cara Moore
    • Dr Sara Beavis
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 10/02/2020
  • Class End Date 09/03/2020
  • Census Date 14/02/2020
  • Last Date to Enrol 11/02/2020
    • Hongzhang Xu
    • Kathryn Vincent
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.

Note: Graduate students attend joint classes with undergraduates but are assessed separately.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, 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 or poor quality data influence management decisions.
  6. assess how the balance between water availability, supply and quality informs natural resource management.
  7. predict the interactions between water and landform under a range of different scenarios

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.

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

There is no examination for this course.

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, and 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 presentations;
  • 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: Water & the Hydrological Cycle Lecture C: The Hydrological Cycle & the Water Balance Practical: Working with Hydrological Data Practical worksheet
2 Lecture A: Precipitation Lecture B: Evapotranspiration Lecture C: Interception & 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 Aanlysis Practical worksheet
5 Lecture A: Ecohydrology Lecture B: Ecohydrology Lecture C: Water quality and bioindicators Practical: Water quality and bioindicators Practical worksheet
6 Lecture A: Water quality Lecture B: Urban Hydrology Lecture C: Coastal Hydrology Practical: Water quality Practical worksheet
7 Field work: Sullivans Creek Field report
8 Field work: Sullivans Creek Field report
9 Lecture A: Captains Flat Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) Field work: Captains Flat (TBC)
10 Practical/Lecture A: Water quality analysis from fieldwork Lecture B: Revision and Q&A Lecture C: Revision and Q&A Research paper due COB 24 March

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Practical exercises 30 % 21/02/2020 25/02/2020 1,2,3,4,5,6,7
Field report 30 % 10/03/2020 24/03/2020 2,3,4,5,7
Research paper 40 % 24/03/2020 07/04/2020 1,2,3,5,6

* 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. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

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 no formal examination in this course.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 21/02/2020
Return of Assessment: 25/02/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7

Practical exercises

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. 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 plus references, if relevant

Value: 30%

Estimated return date: weekly

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: 10/03/2020
Return of Assessment: 24/03/2020
Learning Outcomes: 2,3,4,5,7

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 through the semester. In these field trips you will be required to:

(i) take notes, photographs and make line drawings of sites within a drainage line;

(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 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: 24/03/2020
Return of Assessment: 07/04/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,5,6

Research paper

Students will undertake desktop research to explore acid mine drainage OR contamination of groundwater by pathogens:

Describe the problem, using examples of where it occurs and what the impacts are for the environment and/or for people reliant on the water. You may refer to multiple locations using a compare/contrast approach, or, use a single case study. You should apply water quality guidelines to demonstrate how these have been exceeded. You can use either WHO guidelines or relevant national guidelines. How can the problem be alleviated or managed?   

Word limit: 3000 words plus references and appendices

Estimated return date: Feedback provided within two weeks of submission

Rubric: Please refer to course Wattle site

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to 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 be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, 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 Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

The field report should be submitted using Turnitin in 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

Hard copy submission is also required by placing the assignment with a signed assignment cover sheet attached, into the FSES ENVS2020 assignment box in the Forestry Building 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.

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. 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 the hardcopy submissions, and results are included on the hardcopy submissions as well as being posted up on the Wattle grade sheet.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted 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 landuse ( including agriculture, mining, forestry and peri-urbanisation) on catchment hydrology and water and sediment quality.

Dr Sara Beavis

By Appointment
By Appointment
Dr Cara Moore
+61 2 6125 4882

Research Interests

Dr Cara Moore

By Appointment
Dr Sara Beavis
+61 2 6125 8138

Research Interests

Dr Sara Beavis

By Appointment
By Appointment
Hongzhang Xu

Research Interests

Hongzhang Xu

By Appointment
Kathryn Vincent
+61 2 6125 4882

Research Interests

Kathryn Vincent

By Appointment

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