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PL4-303 Runoff Management

Course description for academic year 2023/2024

Contents and structure

Climate change affects the hydrological cycle and water balance from a catchment to global scale. More frequent extreme weather events along with population growth and urban compaction call for new approaches in water-resource and stormwater management.

The course aims to provide students with knowledge about the principles of physical hydrology, which then form a basis for knowledge-based runoff management. Students will gain an understanding of the physical processes that govern the movement and storage of water within a catchment and learn to quantify hydrological variables, such as river discharge, from both field observations and calculations.

Through seminars and case-based project assignments, this course provides students with skills to assess hydrological problems and make recommendations about strategies and plans for urban and rural runoff management that mitigate the challenges of climate change.

Learning Outcome

Knowledge: The student has

  • an overview of the different components of the hydrological cycle and the water balance
  • insights into hydrological processes, especially with relevance to the generation of stormwater
  • an overview of methods used to quantify and monitor hydrological processes, such as precipitation or river discharge
  • an understanding of how climate change and urbanization affect hydrological processes and flood risk, in particular
  • knowledge on sustainable stormwater management, incl. blue-green infrastructure, to mitigate rural and urban flood risk

Skills: The student is able to

  • identify catchments and characterize their hydrological response
  • work with meteorological and hydrological data to perform flood frequency analysis
  • conduct field measurements of river discharge
  • make simple calculations and use online tools and/or hydrological models to solve simple hydrological and hydraulic problems relevant to runoff and water-resource management
  • assess plans for local runoff management to make urban areas less vulnerable to future climate change

General competence: The student can

  • assess scientific literature, technical reports, websites, etc. to gain information on a particular subject
  • formulate own research questions and use theoretical and/or practical approaches to answer them
  • communicate findings in written reports and oral presentations
  • evaluate and provide constructive feedback on project reports and presentations

Entry requirements

Completed bachelor degree of 180 ECTS.

Recommended previous knowledge

It is advisable to have completed the following courses: GE4-300 Climate Change and Climate Policy and GE4-301 Fundamental Research Methods.

Teaching methods

Lectures, seminars, homework assignments, group work and field excursions.

Field excursions cover different aspects of hydrology and runoff management, such as hydrological monitoring stations, hydropower infrastructure, flood protection infrastructure, and/or municipal water networks.

Compulsory learning activities

To enter the final exam, students need to have approved

  • one oral presentation of a specific research project (group work).

Attendance at field excursions is mandatory.


  1. Project work in groups of about 3-4 students. Written assignment, group-project report with one common grade.
  2. Individual oral exam on the overall course content and project work (ca. 20 minutes per candidate).

In the final assessment, part 1 counts 40 % and part 2 counts 60 %. You need to pass both parts.

Grading A-F.

Examination support material


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