• Class Number 1263
  • Term Code 3320
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Sara Beavis
    • Dr Leah Moore
    • Dr Sara Beavis
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 06/02/2023
  • Class End Date 06/03/2023
  • Census Date 10/02/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 10/02/2023
    • 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

There are both face-to-face (Cotter River, Captains Flat) and virtual (Captains Flat) field trips included in the teaching activities of the course. Please refer to the Course Program Overview on the Wattle for a full schedule of field trips.

In addition, please see the Fenner School Day Field Trip page for more general advice about field trips.

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). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

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 Face-to face Field Trip: Cotter River Virtual Field Trip: Captains Flat (self directed activity)
8 Face-to face Field Trip: Cotter River Virtual Field Trip: Captains Flat (self directed activity) Field report due 10 March
9 On-site field visit for local trip: Captains Flat
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 % 06/02/2023 17/02/2023 1,2,3,4,5,6,7
Field report 30 % 10/03/2023 24/03/2023 1,2,3,4,5,7
Research paper 40 % 17/03/2023 03/03/2023 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 Integrity 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 Skills 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: 06/02/2023
Return of Assessment: 17/02/2023
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: 10/03/2023
Return of Assessment: 24/03/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,7

Field report

(i) Field report based on Cotter River Field Trip

The field report will characterise a stream reach based on both field measurements and observations taken during a field trip to the Cotter River. You will be required to :

  1. take notes, photographs and make line drawings of sites along several reaches of a stream;
  2. (measure stream velocity and cross sectional area at a number of sites from which to calculate stream discharge, and to determine stream form and stream width-depth ratios;
  3. measure water quality; and
  4. note stream bank stability and bed material

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

(ii) Field report based on the Captains Flat Virtual Field Trip

In lieu of a real-time field experience, a limited number of remote 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: 17/03/2023
Return of Assessment: 03/03/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7

Research paper

Students will undertake desktop research to explore the following: Discuss the causes, impacts and operational implications of the increased incidence of severe floods in Australia, with reference to recent conditions. For this report, describe and discuss the issue and critically explore future options for flood mitigation, using examples drawn from the peer reviewed and grey literature.

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. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

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

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

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
Dr Leah Moore

Research Interests

Dr Leah Moore

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

Research Interests

Penny Godwin

By Appointment

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