• Class Number 1277
  • Term Code 3220
  • 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 07/02/2022
  • Class End Date 15/03/2022
  • Census Date 18/02/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 08/02/2022
    • Dr Hong Xu
    • Penny Godwin
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 processes and their importance in environmental management;
  2. interpret the relationships between climate, water and the regolith which control water availability and quality;
  3. explain the principles of, and demonstrate field skills in, hydrological measurement;
  4. analyse practical examples of hydrology and landscape in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region;
  5. assess the relationship between raw data and the interpretation(s) that stem from them, and how limited or poor quality data influence management decisions;
  6. evaluate how the balance between water availability, supply and quality informs natural resource management;
  7. predict the interactions between climate, water and landform under a range of different scenarios.

Research-Led Teaching

The research activities of the course convenor and lecturers 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

This year, because of COVID field work will again involve a virtual accessible field trip. Depending on circumstances, there may be actual in-field work to the site by on-campus students who can then share any information with remote students using a buddy system . This activity will only be confirmed during the course due to highly variable and unpredictable conditions.  

Please see the Fenner School Day Field Trip page for more information.

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. You should also look through relevant section of Gordon et al (2004) Stream hydrology for ecologists. Supplementary readings will also be posted on Wattle each week, and students are encouraged to read these, and to search the literature for relevant papers and reference material according to their interests and needs.

Recommended student system requirements 

ANU courses commonly use a number of online resources and activities including:

  • video material, similar to YouTube, for lectures and other instruction
  • two-way video conferencing for interactive learning
  • email and other messaging tools for communication
  • interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities
  • print and photo/scan for handwritten work
  • home-based assessment.

To fully participate in ANU learning, students need:

  • A computer or laptop. Mobile devices may work well but in some situations a computer/laptop may be more appropriate.
  • Webcam
  • Speakers and a microphone (e.g. headset)
  • Reliable, stable internet connection. Broadband recommended. If using a mobile network or wi-fi then check performance is adequate.
  • Suitable location with minimal interruptions and adequate privacy for classes and assessments.
  • Printing, and photo/scanning equipment

For more information please see https://www.anu.edu.au/students/systems/recommended-student-system-requirements

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: Climate in our region Practical: Working with Data Online quiz
2 Lecture A: Precipitation Lecture B: Evapotranspiration & interception Lecture C: Infiltration Practical: Rainfall Analysis Online quiz
3 Lecture A: Soil water Lecture B: Groundwater Lecture C: Groundwater Flow Practical: Groundwater Measurement Online quiz
4 Lecture A: Runoff Lecture B: Streamflow Lecture C: Sediment Transport Practical: Stream Flow Measurement and Analysis Online quiz
5 Lecture A: Ecohydrology Lecture B: Water quality Lecture C: Biological indicator & Water quality Practical: Monitoring water quality Online
6 Lecture A: Floods Lecture B: Urban Hydrology Lecture C: Coastal Hydrology Practical: Working with data Online quiz
7 Lecture A: Virtual Field Tripping Lecture B: Captains Flat AMD Virtual Field Trip: Captains Flat (self directed activity)
8 Virtual Field Trip: Captains Flat (self directed activity) Field report due 8 March
9 On-site field visit for local trip: Captains Flat To be confirmed (depending on COVID)
10 Course summary/revision /Q&A Research paper due 15 March

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Online quizzes 30 % 07/02/2022 18/02/2022 1,2,3,4,5,6,7
Field report 30 % 08/03/2022 21/03/2021 1,2,3,4,5,7
Research paper 40 % 15/03/2022 29/03/2021 1,2,3,4,5,6,7

* 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 Academic Integrity . 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: 07/02/2022
Return of Assessment: 18/02/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7

Online quizzes

In the first 6 days of the course, students will complete some problem solving exercises drawing on what has been learnt in the lectures using basic mathematics and statistics; data analysis using Excel, or simple observation and analysis. These exercises will be assessed via online quizzes which you need to complete daily.

Estimated return date: on completion online

Rubric: Please refer to course Wattle site

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 08/03/2022
Return of Assessment: 21/03/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,7

Field report

In lieu of a real-time field experience, this year, students will undertake a Virtual Field Trip using Google Earth to access all relevant imagery, information and data. The site is located on the perimeter of the small mining township of Captains Flat just east of Canberra, where two phases of mining occurred in the late 19th century and mid 20th century. The field site is now what is called a legacy mine, with acid mine drainage causing long term concerns about the receiving environment. The principle aim of this virtual field trip is to provide you with the opportunity to understand the processes and impacts of acid mine drainage. The exercises undertaken will allow you to:

  • determine the quality of water bodies and the different pathways of AMD at the mine site;
  • interpret data and other relevant information to characterise a legacy mine site and identify hotspots of contamination.
  • show the importance of understanding the mobility of heavy metals in the landscape for environmental protection and management

Full details of the Virtual Field Trip are provided on the course Wattle site. After navigating through the site, students write up a field report that characterises and assesses the site.

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: 15/03/2022
Return of Assessment: 29/03/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7

Research paper

Students will undertake desktop research to explore the operational implications of COVID for water and sanitation utilities. For this report, describe and discuss the issue and how utilities have responded to meet public health requirements, using examples drawn from the peer reviewed and grey literature.  You should consider how this might vary across developed and developing nations.

Word limit: 3000 words plus references and appendices

Value: 40%

Estimated return date: Feedback provided within two weeks of submission (due date 15th March)

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 quizzes are located on Wattle and are entirely online in terms of submission and grading. The field report AND the research paper should be submitted using Turnitin on the course Wattle site. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records.

Hardcopy Submission

Not required.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

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 within Turnitin and results are 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
Prof Ian White
+61 2 6125 4882

Research Interests

Prof Ian White

By Appointment
Dr Sara Beavis
+61 2 6125 8138

Research Interests

Dr Sara Beavis

By Appointment
By Appointment
Dr Hong Xu

Research Interests

Dr Hong Xu

By Appointment
Penny Godwin
+61 2 6125 4882

Research Interests

Penny Godwin

By Appointment

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