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MSc Pollution & Environmental Control

Year of entry: 2022

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Course unit details:
Pollution Management in Practice 2

Unit code EART63012
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? No



The unit is run as a series of lectures and practicals where the focus is on preparing the student to be able to select the appropriate modelling technique to apply to water movement studies. Each week a new modelling approach will be introduced in a lecture under one of the water movement themes and students will then gain hands-on experience in applying models and interpreting model output during a computer practical. Modelling approaches taught in class include river modelling, forecasting modelling, dam breach modelling, dam and reservoir operation modelling, water resource modelling, modelling of urban drainage systems, water quality and pollution modelling using case studies from different climate zones from around the globe.

The unit complements ‘Measuring and Predicting’ Part 1 and Part 2 by exploring natural processes but also with an emphasis on using models used in industry to examine real-world problems rather than focusing the computational detail. This unit runs alongside ‘Environmental Measurement and Modelling’ further developing modelling techniques for a range of water movement themes.

The unit starts by examining the natural hydrological processes and how surface water moves overland, and how water moves in aquifers and between rivers and groundwater, and the role of natural lakes and artificial influences on impeding water movement. The unit explores the hydraulics of how water moves within river channels. Students apply advance 1D / 2D hydraulic models to examine the movement of water along rivers and on floodplain for rivers in the UK. The unit also examines how flood water is predicted with examples from the UK, Australia, and India.

The unit then explores urban water and its movement through the urban drainage systems. Students use hydraulic theory to understand urban drainage design and apply urban drainage models to provide sustainable flood risk solutions for cities in the UK and India. The students also undertake water quality assessments and make use of water quality model to examine the impact of pollution on the aquatic ecosystems.   

The unit explores water storage, water and energy, and water and food production. The unit prepares students to apply water balance models as a tool to solve water security problems. Students apply modelling techniques to optimise reservoir water storage, to release water to supply power generation, food production, and to the environment for river basins in Ethiopia and China.

Students apply models to design dams and to evaluate their impacts on water movement downstream. Students will model Glacier Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFS) in Nepal. These floods occur when natural dams surrounding glacial lakes fail. The unit finishes by exploring future trends and challenges in water movement and how technology such as remote sensing, Big Data, the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial Intelligence (AI) may provide solutions.

This course unit detail provides the framework for delivery in 20/21 and may be subject to change due to any additional Covid-19 impact.  Please see Blackboard / course unit related emails for any further updates.



To prepare students to carry out an independent research project by teaching modelling skills related to the movement of water


To develop students understanding of data analysis and application of environmental modelling approaches within the theme of water movement.


Learning outcomes


On the successful completion of the course, students will be able to:


Apply a process of mathematical model development to understanding a simple environmental system using the theme of water movement.



Gain an appreciation of data collection and environmental monitoring for water movement studies.


Select appropriate techniques for analysis of the natural processes of surface water runoff and groundwater, the movement of water in rivers and on floodplains, the storage of water in reservoir, the release of water from dams, water transport and supply for food and energy production, water releases for the environment, the water movement in urban areas and its impact on water quality and pollution.


Demonstrate knowledge of different modelling approaches including for catchment and groundwater modelling, river modelling, forecasting modelling, dam breach modelling, reservoir operation, water resource modelling, modelling urban drainage systems, modelling water quality and pollution, using real world case studies.



Be able to use industrial standard software for environmental modelling of the movement of water and recognise their application to real world problems.


Be able use model for water movement studies and to interpret model output, to evaluate model performance and evaluate model parameters through sensitivity analysis and provide solutions to real world problems.




2-hour lecture (on campus or online) plus 2-hour practical in computer cluster (on campus or online) each week.

Lectures will be supplemented with live demonstration of key software using real world example data sets, with some led by experts from industry. In class quizzes and tests are used to check learning outcomes are being achieved.


  1. Surface Water and Groundwater.

Lecture: Natural Processes for Surface and Groundwater

Practical: Naturalisation of flow, groundwater estimation, GW modelling using data for UK catchments


  1. Flood Water.

Lecture: Hydraulics and Flood Risk Modelling

Practical: Calculate hydraulics for fluids and structure, and run1D and 2D model simulations using data for UK catchments.


  1. Forecasting Water

Lecture: Operational Forecast Models and Early Warning Systems

Practical: Rainfall triggers, PDM modelling, forecast modelling for UK rivers.


  1. Urban Water

Lecture: Urban Drainage Management and Modelling

Practical: Urban drainage modelling using SWMM software.


  1. Water Quality

Lecture: Water Quality and Pollution

Practical: Water Quality modelling using SWMM software.


  1. Water Supply

Lecture: Water Supply and Hydropower Development

Practical: Sizing dam heights, and designing emergency spillways using HEC-HMS software, and estimating environmental flows for Nile Basin, Ethiopia


  1. Water and Flood

Lecture: Water Planning, Modelling and Food Security

Practical: Water balance modelling using WEAP software for Lake Tana, Ethiopia and/or catchment in China.


  1. Water and Ice

Lecture: Glacier Outburst Floods (GLOFS) and Energy Balance Modelling

Practical: GLOFS modelling and hazard mapping in Nepal


  1. Future Water

Lecture: Future Trends in Water Science


  1. Q+A session


Teaching and learning methods


  • Each theme is taught using lectures and practical exercises either classroom based (on campus) or online using e-learning (off campus) with drop-in classroom sessions when requested
  • 2-hour lecture covers a different water movement theme each week; the relevant theory; modelling approach, and usage cases for the model, with examples. Lectures include in class exercises and online guest experts
  • 2-hour computer practical each week, with guided learning where students download and use data and models to simulate environmental processes, and plot / interpret the results based a theme introduced in lecture
  • Practical exercises can be done as guided on-line video, with drop-in classroom help sessions when requested, and with regular online help sessions
  • Supplemented with on-line video to aid with technical tasks
  • Experts from industry share their knowledge online during selected classes
  • Formative assessment through on-line BB tests during class with immediate feedback is given each week.
  • Summative assessment is through a weekly online practical assessment related to each theme taught in class using questions in the same style as the formative tests and with immediate feedback.
  • Summative assessment will also include a single on-line open book examination using questions in the same style as the formative tests and with immediate feedback.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 20%
Set exercise 80%

Feedback methods


Assessment type

% Weighting within unit

Hand out and hand in dates



How, when and what feedback is provided

ILO tested






5 – 30mins

On-line immediate







2 hours

On-line immediate


Online Test

End of Semester



2 hours

On-line within 3 days



Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 50
Practical classes & workshops 50
Independent study hours
Independent study 50

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Andrew Lowe Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Contact hours

Lectures: 50 Practicals: 50

Other Scheduled teaching and learning activities*

Lectures, practicals, private study/practical work, directed reading


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