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The University of Southampton

CENV3061 Engineering Hydrology

Module Overview

This module will describe the background to the causes of large flows and floods, by measuring and calculating the size and frequency of occurrence of rainfall events. The interaction of the rainfall with the ground surface will be described and models will be developed to estimate the amount of runoff generated from different land use types such as open farm land, urban areas and forested regions using the Flood Estimation Handbook and Flood Studies Report methodologies. Drainage systems, natural rivers, pipes and culverts are used to transport water across the natural landscape and through urban areas. Hydraulic modelling software (HEC RAS) will be used to simulate the movement of the flood hydrographs through natural and man-made channels, including open channels, culverts, pipes, bridges, lakes etc. Where a flooding problem is identified, students will be shown how to develop a series of engineering responses to reduce flood risk. Design will include implementation of the Environment Agency PPS25 regulations and the Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) methodology. The effects of anticipated climate change will be explored.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Carry out an assessment of rainfall runoff systems
  • Identifying constraints controlling the detention and control of surface runoff
  • Understand frequency analysis and planning issues for urban and rural drainage design
  • Understand how solutions to flooding problems relate to legislation
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Appraise risk of floods and droughts
  • Select the correct technique to measure and evaluate the amount of water at a given location/time
  • Assemble sets of data needed to carry out an hydraulic model of a river
  • Calculate areal rainfall, evapotranspiration, water balances, flood estimates
  • Produce design solutions to flooding problems
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Ability to learn
  • Problem analysis and problem solving
  • Information handling
  • Decision Making
  • Technical decision making
  • Data analysis
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Appraise risk of floods and droughts
  • Perform measurement of water in a river basin e.g. river flow, weather stations
  • Analyse data from multiple sources to construct a water balance model
  • Set up computer models e.g. rainfall-runoff, water balance, flood frequency, hydraulic models


River basins and drainage areas, hydrological water balance Rainfall -runoff models : key issues Drainage systems : open channels, pipe systems, calculating system capacity Design rainfall events. Rainfall intensity, infiltration Probability of extreme events Rainfall - runoff models : Unit Hydrograph, Rainfall- runoff models : Rational Formula, Curve Number, Flood Studies report Flood Estimation Handbook Hydraulics of open channels and culverts Backwater Curves Hydraulic Modelling - overview Use of HEC RAS Modelling bridges and culverts Entrance and exit losses Drainage system design, detention ponds Planning issues : SUDS, Climate Change

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module will consist of lectures, exercises and coursework. Lectures will cover background theory and introduce the fundamentals of the hydrological cycle, measurement and assessment of precipitation, evapotranspiration and runoff. Lectures will describe solution approaches and techniques required to determine the timing and occurrence of surface runoff events, flood estimation, hydraulic modelling of river flows and availability of water. There will be informal exercises, and if time and conditions permits, a field visit. A coursework task will be set to develop a HEC RAS hydraulic model of a rural/urban system and to produce a design solution to an existing flooding problem, taking into account expectations of future climate change.

Follow-up work6
Completion of assessment task20
Wider reading or practice15
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Handouts and recommended book list. Handouts available during the lectures. Students not required to buy a specific book, but you will learn much more if they obtain one of the books from the recommended book list, several of which are available in the Library. An e-book on simple hydrology will be made available on Blackboard.



MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 20%
Examination  (120 minutes) 80%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (120 minutes) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (120 minutes) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisite: CENV2008

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