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Course Code: GEOG 3311
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture, Lab
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

Hydrology is the scientific study of earth’s water resources. Students will be introduced to the physical and chemical properties of water and the processes responsible for its occurrence, distribution and cycling, with emphasis on the terrestrial phase of the hydrologic cycle. Field and lab work will involve measurement techniques and the analysis of hydrologic data. Emphasis will also be placed on a description of Canada’s water resources and their management, including the impacts of urbanization and climate change.

Course Content

  1. Introduction
    • definition and scope of hydrology
    • physical and chemical properties of water
  2. The hydrologic cycle
    • movement through various earth systems
    • phase changes and physical processes
  3. Global and regional water balances
    • mass and energy balance equations
  4. Precipitation
    • mechanisms
    • spatial variability
    • temporal variability
    • measurement
    • precipitation data analysis
  5. Interception and infiltration
    • definitions
    • measurement
    • effect of vegetation
    • Horton’s model
  6. Evaporation, evapotranspiration
    • estimation and measurement
    • spatial variability
    • atmospheric and surface controls
    • potential and actual evaporation
  7. Snow and ice
    • snowpack properties
    • distribution
    • measurement
    • snow melt processes
  8. Soil moisture
    • measurement
    • relevant physical properties of soil
    • water storage and movement
    • measurement
  9. Groundwater
    • confined and unconfined aquifers
    • storage
    • movement
    • Darcy’s law
  10. Run off
    • stream flow
    • basins
    • watershed models
  11. Surface water storage
    • lakes and depressions
  12. Inventory of Canadian water resources
    • effects of climate change
  13. Water quality and water management
    • properties of water
    • characteristics of water quality
    • natural and anthropogenic processes affecting water quality
    • urban hydrology

Methods of Instruction

The course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following:  lecture, labs, field work, analysis and interpretation of hydrologic data, slides, videos, individual and/or team projects and small group discussions. Readings will be assigned to supplement the text book and the lectures.

Means of Assessment

The evaluation will be based on course objectives and will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy.  The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria during the first week of classes.

Evaluation will include some of the following:

  • Laboratory assignments with a combined value of up to 50%.
  • Multiple choice and short answer exams with a combined value of up to 50%.
  • Field work with a value of up to 25%.
  • A term project with a value of up to 25%.

An example of a possible evaluation scheme would be:

Laboratory Assignments  30%
Midterm Examination  25%
Final Examination  25%
Term Project  20%
Total 100%

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:

  1. Describe and explain the hydrologic cycle and the variety of processes involved within it.
  2. Describe and use maps and air photographs to identify and illustrate the variety of landforms involved in the terrestrial stage of the hydrologic cycle.
  3. Be able to utilize, through lab and field work, routine methods for measuring hydrologic flow and storage.
  4. Have used, through map and field work, some methods of analyzing hydrological data.
  5. Describe the extent of Canada’s water resources.
  6. Evaluate the human impact on stream systems and implications for water resource management.

course prerequisites

GEOG 2210 or GEOG 2220 or permission of instructor

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.