MEng Civil Engineering

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Water Engineering 1

Course unit fact file
Unit code CIVL20402
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


Water engineering improves and saves lives world-wide and is a reliable source of employment for engineers from a variety of disciplines. A basic familiarity with the area is an important part of a civil engineer’s course of study. The unit will be split into 3 parts: hydrological science, water resources engineering, and water quality and introduction to water treatment engineering. Students will understand concepts and be able to make basic design and analysis calculations in each of these topics areas.


Water Engineering I aims to introduce students to the natural hydrological cycle, hydrological engineering, water resources engineering, water quality and to foundations of water and waste-water treatment.


Part I: introduction to Hydrology

Part 1a: Introduction to unit and to Hydrological Science 

The module starts with an survey of the unit and its learning outcomes. We introduce students to the hydrological cycle providing an overview the distribution of water resources on the globe and the different elements of the hydrological cycle. This gives the scientific basis for water resources engineering.

Part 1b: Quantifying key elements of the hydrological cycle

We select certain key hydrological cycle elements and describe their importance to water engineering and the methods used to quantify them in water resource analyses.  Focus on precipitation and runoff.

Part 1c: Introduction to Groundwater

We describe the manifestation of groundwater, the characteristics of earth materials that condition its flow, types of aquifers, groundwater physics, groundwater flow equations, and introduce equations and  methods of groundwater flow modelling.

Part 1d: Hydrological routing

To track water flows in river and reservoirs hydrological engineers use flow routing techniques. We learn the storage routing technique and apply it to an example reservoir.

Part 2: Water resources engineering

Part 2a: Hydrological Statistics

Students are introduced to how probability concepts can be applied and used to understand and characterise the frequency of hydrological events. We explain how this enables to estimate return periods and other metrics which are used to quantify performance of engineered water systems.

Part 2b: Water supply engineering

Supply and demand concepts are explained and discussed. Methods to quantify these are explained, with examples. The regulation and management of water supply systems in the UK and abroad are discussed.

Part 2c: Methods for water supply planning

Introduction to the analysis, methods and tools of water resources planning .  Using the UK system as an example, we review the foundations of  water supply engineering suing a single reservoir as an example. We then review how that approach can be generalised for real-world systems.

Part 2c: Water, energy and power

Links between water and power systems are described. Hydropower is provided as an example. Students are taught to perform basic hydropower system design problems.

Part 3: Water Treatment Plant Design Methodology

Part 3a: Water quality and process engineering

Water quality concepts are introduced and their role in water supply engineering are described. The foundations of process engineering are explained, and building block concepts are presented so they can be applied in the next section.

Part 3b: Water and waste water treatment engineering

Concepts of the previous section are applied ot the topic of water and waste water treatment engineering. The use of small design problem calculations are used to demonstrate concepts.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 80%
Practical skills assessment 20%

Feedback methods

Exam - via script viewing

Practical demonstration by Blackboard

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 25
Project supervision 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 65

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Julien Harou Unit coordinator

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