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GEOG394 Rivers and Runoff

Precipitation, runoff and floods; a project and laboratories as required.

This paper forms an introduction to the hydrological cycle and the hydrology of rivers. The focus is on the development of practical skills for river discharge measurement.

This course should appeal to people seeking a career in water resource management.

Paper title Rivers and Runoff
Paper code GEOG394
Subject Geography
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,141.35
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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54 GEOG points
GEOG 288
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Science

A foundation earth science paper is also acceptable.


Teaching staff

Dr Sarah Mager

Paper Structure

The lecture programme includes the properties of water, atmospheric processes, precipitation measurement, evaporation and transpiration, river behaviour, discharge measurement, and practical applications of hydrological understanding.
The laboratory programme will include measurement of flow and discharge in the field using a variety of statistical techniques in hydrology.

Course assessment favours collaborative learning through hands-on activities in the laboratory; and is supplemented by take-home quizzes that draw on elements of problem-based learning.

Teaching Arrangements
The laboratory programme is the heart of this course. The laboratories are designed to introduce and develop the skills required to undertake discharge gauging of rivers and the processing of discharge data.


Davie. T., and Quinn, N. 2019.  Fundamentals of Hydrology. 3rd Edition. Routledge.

Recommended Reading:

Dingman, S.L. 2009.  Fluvial Hydraulics. 1st Edition, Oxford University Press.

Herschy, R.W. 2009.  Streamflow Measurement. 3rd Edition, Taylor & Francis.

Knighton, D. 1998.  Fluvial forms and Processes: a new perspective. 2nd Edition. Hodder.

Wohl, E. 2019. Rivers in the landscape. 2nd Edition. Wiley.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Critical thinking, Environmental literacy, Research.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

On completion of the paper students should:

  • Acquire an understanding of the hydrological cycle
  • Understand the physics behind different field techniques
  • Learn how to measure streamflow and decide which method is suitable for different conditions
  • Apply theoretical understanding to real scenarios
  • Gain practical experience sampling stream flow
  • Gain analytical experience handling hydrological data.

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Friday 10:00-10:50 9, 22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
P1 Thursday 14:00-16:50 11, 13, 17, 19, 21
P2 Friday 14:00-16:50 11, 13, 17, 19, 21


Stream Days Times Weeks
T1 Friday 10:00-10:50 10-13, 17-21