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 students with an in-depth understanding of the issues and challenges relating to the sustainable management of aquatic ecosystems. The study of aquatic ecosystem health is a relatively new field that brings together biophysical understandings of how natural systems function with societal goals and human values. A major challenge for society is to satisfy the growing demands for water without degrading aquatic ecosystems and the ecological goods and services they provide. The unit focuses on three key components—(1) an understanding of hydrological regimes and environmental flows methodology, including the basic principles relating hydrology to aquatic ecosystems and the design of environmental flows regimes; (2) theory and methodology behind the assessment of aquatic ecosystem health, including the development and validation of cost-effective techniques for the ecological assessment of river health; and (3) principles and practical tools for implementing riparian restoration projects across a range of aquatic ecosystems.

6 points

Students are able to (1) describe basic hydrology of catchments and physical processes within catchments—an understanding of basic catchment hydrology is important in understanding water quality, linkages between the terrestrial and aquatic environment, the influence of land-use change on aquatic systems, reservoir function and water treatment needs and environmental flows; (2) have a basic understanding of environmental flows technologies and methodologies with respect to natural research management; (3) understand the concepts behind riparian restoration in relation to whole of catchment management; (4) have a basic understanding of the concepts and practices of ecosystem health; (5) improve their ability to manage their own study and their ability to work effectively in an engineering team—this includes the ability to reflect on their own learning and improve study approaches on the basis of this learning, work in a team to solve a large complex problem and communicate the solution effectively, identify and overcome issues/problems in a team to make the team result better than the sum of the individuals; (6) participate successfully in an integrated group project exploring detailed aspects of integrated water management; (7) participate successfully in an individual project that integrates the knowledge obtained from the core classes; (8) demonstrate the use of personal reflection and social learning to improve their own ability and their ability as part of a team, to analyse and explore integrated solutions to practical water planning and management problems exemplified in case studies presented in this unit; and (9) show how relevant theories, integration tools and decision support systems presented in the unit can inform the analysis of case studies and help to identify practical, integrated solutions to water planning and management problems.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) an in-class quiz (5 per cent); (2) a water quality report (20 per cent); (3) a critique (25 per cent); and (4) an individual project (50 per cent). 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 Barbara Cook
Unit rules
ENVT4471 Project Management
and ENVT4472 Science of Water
ENVT5573 Water and Agricultural Landscapes
  • 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.