CE 394K.2 Surface Water Hydrology

Spring 2005



INSTRUCTOR: David R. Maidment

Office: ECJ 8.612

Phone: Campus 471-4620, CRWR 471-0065

E-mail: maidment@mail.utexas.edu

LECTURES: Tuesday and Thursday, 12:30-2PM, ETC 5.148

OFFICE HOURS Tuesday and Thursday 2-4PM, ECJ 8.612

OBJECTIVES: This course is designed to present an advanced understanding of:

         The movement of water through the phases of the hydrologic cycle

         Developing water balances for hydrologic systems

         Hydrologic environment of the San Marcos basin

COMPUTER: Proficiency with computers and familiarity with ArcGIS and Arc Hydro, as presented in CE 394K.3 “GIS in Water Resources” will be assumed. 

TEXT: Class text is “Applied Hydrology” by Chow, Maidment and Mays, McGraw-Hill, 1988, Reference text is the “Handbook of Hydrology”, Ed. by Maidment, which is on reserve in the Engineering Library. Other reading materials will be distributed during the semester.

CLASS FORMAT: Lectures supplemented with outside reading, homework, and exams. 

CLASS OUTLINE: See attached. 

GRADING: Homework = 20%

Midterm Exam = 20%

Oral Term Project = 10%

Written Term Project = 30%

Final Exam = 20%

Any problems, personal or otherwise, affecting grades should be brought to the instructor's attention. 

HOMEWORK POLICY Homework assignments are due in by 5PM on the day assigned. There is a box outside my door in ECJ 8.6 for turning in assignments after the class hour, if necessary. Homework must be done on clean paper, stapled in the top left corner, have your name in the top right corner, and your name, class and assignment number written on the outside when the homework is folded in half. 

EXAMINATIONS: There will be a midterm examination and a final examination. The midterm examination will be closed book, although you will be allowed a 1-page review sheet, and will be given on the date and time indicated. The final exam will be a take-home exam distributed on the last day of classes and due in one week later. Missed examinations may be made up only if the reason for missing was illness or some other emergency.

EVALUATION: The University Measurement and Evaluation Center forms will be used during the last week of class to evaluate the course and the instructor. 

DISHONESTY: University procedures will be followed in dealing with cases of suspected scholastic dishonesty.

ATTENDANCE: Regular class attendance is expected in accordance with The University's General Information catalog and the College of Engineering policy (see the section on Attendance in the Undergraduate Catalog). 

IMPORTANT NOTE: The University of Texas at Austin provides upon request appropriate academic adjustments for qualified students with disabilities. For more information, contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 471-6259, 471-4241 TDD or the College of Engineering Director of Students with Disabilities at 471-4321.



The Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc (CUAHSI) is an organization representing about 100 universities, which is sponsored by the National Science Foundation to develop infrastructure and services which will support the development of hydrologic science and education at the nation’s universities. I am the leader of the CUAHSI Hydrologic Information System project, whose goals include using information systems to integrate water observations, GIS, remote sensing and climate and weather grids into a coherent structure called a Digital Watershed, and to build hydrologic analysis capabilities on top of Digital Watershed. In the CE 394K.3 GIS in Water Resources class last Fall, our focus of study was the San Marcos basin and the exercises in that class involved synthesis of gage data on rainfall and streamflow, and GIS data on terrain, stream hydrography, soils, geology, land cover, watersheds, mainly using the Arc Hydro data model in ArcGIS. The intent in this class is to use the products created last Fall as a point of departure for study of water movement through the San Marcos basin. Additional information sources that will be accessed this semester include Nexrad radar rainfall data, climate grids from numerical weather prediction models, channel geometry and flow routing, and groundwater modeling. A key unifying element in this study is the construction of water balances for the various components of the hydrologic cycle in the San Marcos basin (watershed, stream channels, atmospheric water, groundwater). The coupling of these water balances within the context of a single basin is intended to create insight into the dynamics of water movement in a particular context, instead of studying the various hydrologic processes (precipitation, evaporation, soil water movement, surface runoff, etc) separately.


Term Project


The purpose of the term project in this course is to allow you to develop a project that explores an aspect of hydrology of personal interest to you. It can involve more detailed study of some aspect of the San Marcos basin, equivalent study of some other basin, an investigation into a particular data source or sources, the development and application of a hydrologic model, or some other related subject. I am particularly interested in seeing if you can take the core data for the San Marcos basin and make creative use of it in other analysis environments than the ones we’ll use in class, such as Matlab, or VB for applications programming in Excel, or ArcGIS model builder, or in a statistical analysis package such as SAS (this will need to be a system that you are already familiar with since I won’t be teaching how to use such systems in class). You will be expected to prepare a 1-page proposal concerning your project by Thursday February 10, and display this on the University’s webspace environment https://webspace.utexas.edu/xythoswfs/webui. In this proposal, you should briefly outline your goals for the project, where your study area is located, and how you expect to obtain data for your study area. On Thursday March 31, you will be expected to make a brief in-class presentation that describes what your term project consists of and what progress you have made with it. During one of the last three class days, you will make an oral presentation of your term project, and you will produce a written report in html format on your webspace by the last day of classes, Friday May 6.






Tues Jan 18

Introduction to the course

Thurs Jan 20

Mass, momentum and energy in a watershed

Tues Jan 25

Hydrologic fluxes, flows, and balance computations

Thurs Jan 27

Introduction to the San Marcos basin (Joanna Curran)

Tues Feb 1

Exercise 1 – watershed water balance

Thurs Feb 3

Atmospheric circulation and climate modeling

Tues Feb 8

Sources of atmospheric water data

Thurs Feb 10


Tues Feb 15


Thurs Feb 17

Exercise 2 – atmospheric water balance

Tues Feb 22

Geometry of stream channels

Thurs Feb 24

Equations of flow in stream channels

Tues Mar 1

HEC-RAS as a stream channel model

Thurs Mar 3

Channel flow in the San Marcos basin

Tues Mar 8

Exercise 3 – channel flow and water balance

Thurs Mar 10

Review for Midterm Exam

Spring Break!


Tues Mar 22

Midterm exam

Thurs Mar 24

Soil water characterization

Tues Mar 29

Infiltration and soil water movement

Thurs Mar 31

Review of Progress with Term Projects

Tues Apr 5

Groundwater flow

Thurs Apr 7

Modflow as a groundwater model

Tues Apr 12

Exercise 4 – groundwater balance

Thurs Apr 14

Water balance integration

Tues Apr 19

Aquatic ecology

Thurs Apr 21

Hydrology for aquatic ecology

Tues Apr 26

Term Project presentations

Thurs Apr 28

Term Project presentations

Tues May 3

Term Project presentations

Thurs May 5

Course instructor evaluation and review for the final exam