ENVU7WM: Sustainable Water Management

CO-ORDINATOR: Dr David Oliver

The Water Framework Directive is currently driving increased focus on integrated land and water-related issues that not only have environmental and ecological impact but also economic and social implications from local through to national scales, and beyond. This course will provide knowledge and skills related to the sustainable management of water resources with a particular focus on water quality issues linked to surface waters, drinking water and wastewater treatment processes. Political, economic, social, technological and environmental considerations of managing land and water resources will be covered. The course will demonstrate the relevance of applied science to the needs of policy makers, legislators, industry and catchment stakeholders such as farmers.

Lectures will address a range of water quality issues at different spatial and temporal scales and draw on case study examples from agricultural and drinking water industry perspectives. Key Topics will include diffuse water pollution from agriculture, environmental stewardship and mitigation for water quality protection, drinking and waste water treatment, recreational water and human health, stakeholder engagement for catchment management and the use of decision support systems and modelling frameworks to manage water resources. The overall aim of the course is to develop understanding about key concepts, debates and policies in the governance and practice of sustainable water management and to provide a varied insight into challenges and complexities faced by water resource managers.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course students should be able to:

  • demonstrate an awareness of a range of different national and international water policy drivers
  • appreciate the importance of temporal and spatial scales in water resource management
  • understand the linkages between land and infrastructure management and water quality signatures
  • critically evaluate different modelling and decision support tools for catchment stakeholders
  • interpret varied data-types including time-series, spatial risk maps, and qualitative information
  • produce concise and structured essay writing



Teaching Methods

This module is taught via eleven 1 hour lectures (over the 1st half of the semester) and one half-day field class.


50% 2hr exam, 50% assessed essay/coursework.


This course will be taught primarily through the use of peer-reviewed journal material and as such there is no one course text. However, the following text will be included in the recommended reading.

  • Ferrier, R. C., and Jenkins, A. (2010). Handbook of Catchment Management. Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4051-7122-9.

References will be provided for each lecture.

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