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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Ecological Science

Undergraduate Course: Land Use and Water Resources (ECSC10012)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis is a 10-credit Honours course focusing on the interactions between human activities and water resources. In the course we first demonstrate how an understanding of processes in the physical environment is important for managing water resources. We then explore how simulation modelling may allow relevant data to be used within integrated catchment management.

The course is highly recommended for Year 4 BSc Ecological and Environmental Sciences students who wish to specialise in the Environmental Sciences, but can be taken by any Honours students who meet the course prerequisites. The course is taught alongside the 20-credit Catchment Water Resources course designed for Honours students in Geography degree programmes to allow students from different backgrounds to share and benefit from different disciplinary perspectives and expertise.

The course comprises of lectures by the academic course team with guest lectures on relevant real-world issues by water resource practitioners, a half day field trip and computer-based workshops on simulation modelling.
Course description The course programme is as follows:

Week 1 Conflicting demands on water resources
Week 2 Land use & water resources: agriculture, urbanisation
Weeks 3-4 Sustainable urban drainage field visit and presentations
Weeks 5-6 Hydrological models and model building methods
Week 7 Land use & water resources: forests
Week 8 Flooding and flood risk management
Week 9 River management and restoration
Week 10 Revision class

At the end of this course students will be able to:

- Critically review the basic hydrological and geomorphological processes relevant for river catchment management;
- Have a comprehensive understanding of the processes by which the use of land for agriculture, forests and urbanisation may affect river flows and water quality;
- Consolidate data from a variety of sustainable drainage structures and make informed judgements about the performance of these structures and devices;
- Formally present this data to informed audiences;
- Understand the principles and structures for sustainable urban drainage;
- Appreciate the application of these ideas for river restoration and flood control projects;
- Understand and construct simple simulation models in hydrology to interpret, use and evaluate the interactions between catchment land use and water resources, a skill which is specialised and places the course into its professional level context;
- Execute a defined project of research into hydrological model building and identify the relevant outcomes;
- Apply their knowledge to evaluate complex, professional level problems associated with the suitability of different contemporary techniques and management practices in water resource management.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Soil, Water and Atmospheric Processes (ECSC08003) AND Environmental Pollution (ECSC09005)
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Catchment Water Resources (GEGR10023)
Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. understand how land use change affects the quality and quantity of water resources and have knowledge of techniques for mitigating any adverse impacts.
  2. apply your knowledge to evaluate the suitability of different contemporary techniques in water resource management.
  3. critically evaluate and consolidate different sources of evidence pertaining to the effects of land use on water resources and the effectiveness of mitigation techniques.
  4. have practised and received feedback on your-writing skills and have constructed and evaluated your own computer-based hydrological model.
  5. demonstrate mature approaches to autonomy and time-management in execution of the hydrological modelling exercise and experience of working in a group to research for and prepare an oral presentation.
Reading List
Additional references on specific topics will be provided in Learn and during lectures

General Texts (although some of these textbooks are over 10 years old they provide good overviews and are valuable reference books)

Jones, J.J.A. (1997) Global Hydrology; Processes, Resources and Environmental Management. Longman.

Newson, M.D. (2008) Land, water and development: sustainable and adaptive management of rivers. Routledge. Chapters 2 and 3 for land ¿ water interactions. Chapter 4 for case studies of watershed management in the developed world; Chapter 6 for river restoration. Chapter 7 for institutional issues in UK river basin management.

Satterlund, D.R. and Adams, P.W. (1992) Wildland Watershed Management. Wiley. Chapter 2: approaches to water resource management; Chapter 4: how runoff is generated by the watershed; Chapter 11 control of amount and timing of streamflow; Chapter 13 watershed management planning.

Shaw, E.M. Beven, K.J. Chappell, N.A, Lamb, R. (2010) Hydrology in Practice. Spon Press (4th ed).

Ward, R.C. and Robinson, M. (1999) Principles of Hydrology (4th Ed). McGraw-Hill. (Excellent explanations of hydrological processes)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Exercise autonomy and initiative in completing complex assignments within time-limits

Consolidate and critically review scientific evidence

Make judgements where data is limited or conflicting

Interpret and evaluate numerical and graphical data

Present specialist information in talks and reports
Additional Class Delivery Information 1 two-hour session per week comprising lectures, group activities and discussion.

In Week 3 there will be an extended afternoon field visit.
KeywordsECSC10012 LUWR,Catchment management,computer modelling,hydrology,river restoration,water quality
Course organiserProf Kate Heal
Tel: (0131 6)50 5420
Course secretaryMr Matthew Hathaway
Tel: (0131 6)50 8510
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