Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


This unit provides a holistic treatment of the field of hydrology with a focus on process understanding in relation to the catchment water balance and topics relevant to water management. A focus is given to understanding and quantitative descriptions of the surface and subsurface components of the hydrological cycle allowing students to appreciate the fundamentals of the disciplines of both surface hydrology and hydrogeology. Students gain an understanding of a range of biophysical processes through exposition of fundamental theories and process descriptions, combined with analysis and interpretation of observed data. Contemporary topics related to water management such as managing pollution, water resource allocation and river management are introduced. In addition to lectures, assignments and computer-based data analyses, field and laboratory work exposes students to practical applications and approaches to hydrological measurements.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Semester 2AlbanyFace to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 core unit in the Environmental Science; Geographical Sciences; Integrated Earth and Marine Sciences; Environmental Science and Management; Environmental Science and Ecology; Environmental Engineering; Geographical and Spatial Science major sequences
  • Level 2 option in the Geology major sequence
  • Level 2 elective

Students are able to (1) source routine hydrological information and summarise key processes governing the water balance across scales from field plots to the whole of catchment; (2) understand the climate and weather drivers of the water balance; (3) identify critical factors controlling runoff generation and assess runoff based on soil and rainfall properties; (4) understand how water moves through unsaturated soil and how groundwater moves; (5) assess the role of vegetation on the water balance and how land-use change impacts upon hydrological pathways; and (6) apply this knowledge to practical environmental hydrology problems related to water resources, environmental flow allocation, and water quality and contamination issues in agricultural, urban and mining impacted landscapes.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) practical reports (x2)

- data analysis practical report

-field/lab practical exercises and vignette; (2) catchment management report; and (3) online theory assessments. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Matt Hipsey
Unit rules
Successful completion of
one EART1105 Dynamic Planet
or ENVT1104 Environmental Science and Technology
or GEOG1103 Urbanisation and Sustainability
or GENG1014 Earth Systems Engineering
or GEOG1106 Climate Change: Environment and Society
or prior approval
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week
computer/modelling exercises/labs and field work: 2 hours per week

Ward, A. D. and Trimble, S. W. Environmental Hydrology, 3rd edn: Lewis Publishers 2014

Gordon, N. D. et al. Stream Hydrology: an Introduction for Ecologists, 2nd edn: Wiley Publishers 2004


Hornberger, G. M. et al. Elements of Physical Hydrology: John Hopkins University Press 1998

Bras, R. L. Hydrology: an Introduction to Hydrologic Science: Addison-Wesley 1990

Chow, V. T. et al. Applied Hydrology: McGraw-Hill 1988

Dingman, S. L. Physical Hydrology: Prentice-Hall 1993

Shaw, E. M. Hydrology in Practice: Chapman & Hall 1994

Tindall, J. A. and Kunkel, J. R. Unsaturated Zone Hydrology for Scientists and Engineers: Prentice-Hall 1999

  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.